Currie Cup

Sharks boosted by Fassie return for Cheetahs trip

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Aphelele Fassi (Gallo)
Aphelele Fassi (Gallo)

Highly-rated fullback Aphelele Fassi returns to the Sharks squad for their Currie Cup clash against the Cheetahs on Sunday.

The 22-year-old has been out of action for four months having undergone shoulder surgery but will start on the bench in Bloemfontein this weekend. 

Fassi has been a revelation in Durban and was considered one of the form players in South Africa, generating Springbok interest, before the coronavirus pandemic struck in March. 

Sharks coach Sean Everitt has made four changes to his side, handing John Hubert-Meyer a start at tighthead and welcoming back Ruben van Heerden in the second row.

Amongst the backs, there are also two changes with scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse earning his first start for the side while Jeremy Ward comes in for Marius Louw at centre.

"We were disappointed with the performance against the Lions, but we’ll put it down to a bad day at the office and the guys are really motivated to rectify it this weekend," explained Everitt.

"The guys still showed a lot of effort, but the truth is that we weren’t able to fire a shot and never really got out of first gear. But funny enough, with 15 minutes to go, we had an opportunity to pull a win out the bag, but generally the performance didn’t deserve a win."

Everitt admitted that the Sharks’ focus will be more on themselves than the opposition for Sunday’s match.

"There were a lot of things we didn’t get right against the Lions and those were things that determine outcomes in games and we need to focus on that rather than the opposition," he said.

"We know what’s coming from the Cheetahs, they need to win their last three matches for them to be in contention come knockout time, so we’re under no illusions as to what they will bring.

"It’s a challenge for us but the players are certainly up for it."

Kick-off is at 16:30.

Teams:

Cheetahs

15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Reinhardt Fortuin, 9 Ruben de Haas, 8 Jeandré Rudolph, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Carl Wegner (captain), 3 Khutha Mchunu, 2 Marnus van der Merwe, 1 Boan Venter

Substitutes: 16 Louis van der Westhuizen, 17 Cameron Dawson, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Victor Sekekete, 20 Chris Massyn, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Rhyno Smith

Sharks

15 Manie Libbok, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Jeremy Ward, 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Aston Fortuin, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 John-Hubert Meyer, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche 

Substitutes: 16 Fezokuhle Mbatha, 17 Khwezi Mona, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Werner Kok, 23 Aphelele Fassi

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