Du Preez impressed by new duo

2018-02-01 06:01
Sharks coach Robert du Preez.PHOTO: gallo images

Sharks coach Robert du Preez.PHOTO: gallo images

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SHARKS coach Robert du Preez has been impressed by two youngsters who have training with his team during the pre-season, saying they don’t look out of place.

Teenagers Phendulani Buthelezi and JJ van der Mescht joined the Sharks for their Super Rugby pre-season after finishing writing their Grade 12 examinations late last year.

The Durbanites’ Super Rugby campaign will kick off against the Lions in Johannesburg on February 17.

Both Van der Mescht and Buthelezi are from the Sharks Academy and they represented the Sharks U18 side in the Craven Week last year, where Buthelezi captained that side.

Though it doesn’t look like they will be roped into the Sharks’ Super Rugby squad, Du Preez says he’s amazed by what the youngsters have shown.

“We got Pepsi Buthelezi after he played schools rugby and was the captain of the Sharks U18 team, and also JJ van der Mescht, who is a lock for the U18 team. I have been really impressed by them, but JJ has still got some work to do on the conditioning side of the things, but I thought they didn’t look out of place here,” he said.

Even if the players don’t make the Super Rugby squad as they would hope, they have gained valuable experience and learnt a lot from playing with the experienced campaigners in the squad.

Du Preez also welcomed to training his Japanese-based players this week, with the exception of Andre Esterhuizen, who was involved in the relegation/promotional playoffs with his Munakata Sanix Blues of Japan over the weekend.

There were fears that the players would return home for the Super Rugby overcooked after they played a lot of rugby in Japan, but Du Preez said he’s not worried about that.

“They haven’t played too much rugby, because as you know in Japan they have four foreigners and only two can play, so I don’t think that would be the case,” he said.

“Andre is one guy that played, but we had a meeting with him when they had a break last year and he looked really good, he lost about three kg. Also, with guys like Philip van der Walt and Lwazi Mvovo, we don’t have any issue, they are disciplined players and hard workers.” - Supplied.

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