Marais in Sharks’ Cup side

2013-08-06 00:00

THE Southern Kings fullback, 24-year-old SP Marais, has been included in the Sharks’ 2013 Currie Cup rugby squad.

Marais, in the Kings side beaten by the Lions in the Super Rugby promotion-relegation games, has agreed to a Durban move and the Sharks are waiting on his release by the Kings.

The Sharks’ new director of rugby, former Springbok centre Brendan Venter, released the Sharks’ 42-man squad yesterday and said that Riaan Viljoen’s move to Japan and the possible departure of fullback Louis Ludik to France had prompted the signing of the talented Marais.

The Sharks open their Currie Cup campaign against Griquas at King’s Park on Friday night.

Venter, making what he says will be a rare appearance in front of the media, was joined by the Sharks’ new management and coaching staff — CEO John Smit and assistants, Brad Macleod-Henderson and Sean Everitt — at the announcement.

Venter said he will be involved as a mentor at the Sharks, with Macleod-Henderson playing a more public role.

The large group of players named yesterday includes six current Springbok squad members — Pat Lambie, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis, and Tendai Mtawarira — along with the injured Pieter-Steph du Toit, Butch James, Frans Steyn and Paul Jordaan.

James has a slight calf strain and could be ready to play next week while Du Toit and Steyn are expected to rejoin the Sharks next month.

The other additions to the squad are former Blue Bulls tighthead prop Ryno Gerber, who has been playing for Rovigo, lock Marco Wentzel and flank Justin Downey.

Lock Edwin Hewitt joined the Sharks from Griquas late in the Super Rugby season.

The Sharks have already picked up a fresh injury problem with wing Sibusiso Sithole breaking his hand in Friday night’s practice game.

“That’s a real blow for him and us,” said Venter. “S’bura has immense potential and he would have started against Griquas on Friday. He’ll be out for about six weeks.”

He said Keegan Daniel, who led the Sharks during the Super Rugby campaign, would continue as captain.

“Keegan is a natural leader and he will have support from Butch [James]. Jacques Botes will take over if Keegan is injured.”

Macleod-Henderson said the goal of the Sharks would be to win the Currie Cup title but there would be opportunities for the emerging young talent.

“The Springboks are away so that creates a few opportunities and injuries will happen.

“So we will see some youngsters coming in along the way. [Flyhalf] Fred Zeilinga is one, [backrower] Brynard Stander another and I’m sure we’ll see a bit of [centre] Heimar Williams.”

Backline coach Sean Everitt said he was relieved to have centre Tim Whitehead back from the injury that kept him out of the entire Super Rugby competition.

“We’re quite short in the midfield and he brings a wealth of experience to the backline. He’s obviously had bad luck but he’s excited about playing again and that opportunity to play on Friday night will have given him confidence.”


Outside backs: Odwa Ndungane, Lwazi Mvovo, Louis Ludik, S’bura Sithole, Sizo Maseko, Jaco van Tonder, Sean Robinson, SP Marais.

Centres: Francois Steyn, Tim Whitehead, Paul Jordaan, Marius Joubert, Heimar Williams.

Flyhalves: Pat Lambie, Butch James, Fred Zeilinga.

Scrumhalves: Charl McLeod, Cobus Reinach.

Backrow forwards : Keegan Daniel (captain), Marcell Coetzee, Willem Alberts, Jacques Botes, Jean Deysel, Justin Downey, Lubabalo Mtembu, Francois Kleinhans, Brynard Stander.

Locks: Anton Bresler, Edwin Hewitt, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Marco Wentzel, Peet Marais.

Props: Beast Mtawarira, Dale Chadwick, Danie Mienie, Jannie du Plessis, Wiehahn Herbst, Rayno Gerber.

Hookers: Bismarck du Plessis, Kyle Cooper, Craig Burden, Monde Hadebe.

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