Rugby: Sharks travel to Cape Town for series of pre-Super 15 friendlies

2011-01-07 00:00

IT will be a repeat of last season’s Currie Cup final when the Sharks travel to Cape Town at the end of the month for a series of friendly games on the eve of the new Super 15 competition.

The Sharks will again take part in the pre-series Tri-Series in Cape Town and will play games against the Stormers and the Lions.

The Perth-based Western Force played in the inaugural tournament last year and are replaced by the Lions this year.

The tournament runs from January 28 to February 5. The Stormers take on the Lions at Newlands in the opening game on January 28 at 7 pm. The Sharks will play their first game on the following Tuesday (February 1) when they meet the Lions (7 pm). The series comes to a climax on February 5 with the Sharks up against the Stormers. This Saturday game kicks off at 5 pm and the Currie Cup final — won 30-10 by the Sharks — will still be fresh in the memory.

The Sharks open their Super 15 campaign against the Cheetahs at King’s Park on February 19.

The Bulls, the Super rugby champions, will also play two warm-up fixtures. They meet the Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth on January 29 and then face a Premier XV — players from the Mpumalanga Pumas and a number of Bulls’ reserves — at Nelspruit’s Mbombela Stadium on February 5.

The Bulls Super 15 opener is against the Lions on February 19 in Johannesburg.

The Bulls gathered in Pretoria on Wednesday following their Christmas break and a number of key players who have been nursing injuries, among them Wynand Olivier, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Fourie du Preez, Victor Matfield, Gary Botha and Danie Rossouw, will be assessed this week.

The Bulls’ new signing, Springbok wing Bjorn Basson, and hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle will only be cleared to join the squad once they have been cleared by the judiciary of SA Rugby. The pair tested positive for an illegal stimulant while on tour with the Springboks.

The Bulls have lost seven players from last year’s squad. They are Wilhelm Steenkamp (Cheetahs), Jacques-Louis Potgieter (Sharks), Pedrie Wannenburg (Ulster), Heini Adams (Bordeaux), Jaco Engels (Kings), Bandise Maku (Lions) and John Mametsa (retired).

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