Super Rugby

Penxe gives Sharks injection of depth at fullback, Fassi out for at least another month

Yaw Penxe (Gallo)
Yaw Penxe (Gallo)
  • The Sharks take on the Bulls on Saturday with former Kings fullback Yaw Penxe included on the bench. 
  • Penxe provides the Sharks with a timely injection of depth in the position with Aphelele Fassi injured.
  • Fassi is recovering from shoulder surgery and is not expected back before December.


Sharks coach Sean Everitt confirmed on Thursday that highly-rated fullback Aphelele Fassi will remain sidelined with injury until "around December", depending on his rehabilitation. 

The 22-year-old is continuing his recovery from shoulder surgery having been a standout for the Sharks earlier in the year in the beginning rounds of Super Rugby before the tournament was suspended in March. 

Fassi, with his raw pace and ability to spot a gap, had been involved in some scintillating Sharks tries and had played himself into the Springbok conversation before the coronavirus pandemic and injury struck. 

But, with Fassi out, a couple of shrewd signings from the Sharks have ensured that they can take on the combined Super Rugby Unlocked/Currie Cup season with quality depth in the position. 

Former Bulls flyhalf Manie Libbok is Everitt's current starting fullback and has shown glimpses of real promise in the limited time the Sharks have had together on the field since the restart. 

The cover on the bench comes in the form of another exciting youngster with former Kings speedster Yaw Penxe now a Shark having completed his move to Durban. 

The 23-year-old has been one of the standouts at the Kings throughout their often-challenging journey in the PRO 14.

In what was almost always a losing cause, Penxe stood out and it is no coincidence that he was selected to be a part of the Springbok Green v Springbok Gold trial match at Newlands a few weeks back. 

"Yaw is a very dangerous rugby player, whether it be at fullback or on the wing," Everitt told media on Thursday.

"He is a strong runner, he's very abrasive, he's got good feet and he's quick. 

"He had a very good game for the Green team at Newlands a couple of weeks ago and he was certainly on form for the Kings over the last 18 months.

"We're very happy to have him. He's a good kid, he learns fast and that's why we've brought him into the matchday 23 as quickly as we have."

The Sharks had a bye last weekend and fought hard for a 19-17 win over the Lions in Durban in week one. 

Top of the Super Rugby combined log before the tournament was halted earlier in the year, Everitt's charges had looked a real threat on attack and particularly on counter-attack with the likes of Fassi, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi and Sikhumbuzo Notshe combining in sometimes breath-taking fashion. 

But having spent so long off the park, Everitt acknowledges that rediscovering that lethal touch with ball in hand could take some time. 

"Sometimes rhythm does take time," said the coach.

"Unfortunately with us we've had a stop-start season. We had Super Fan day then a bye with the Green and Gold match, then we were back into the Lions and then another bye.

"That was timely for us in that it helped us get players back from injury. We took that with a smile, but it doesn't help much for continuity."

Kick-off on Saturday is at 19:00.

Teams:

Bulls

15 David Kriel, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Jacques van Rooyen

Substitutes: 16 Joe van Zyl, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Arno Botha, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Marco Jansen van Vuren

Sharks

15 Manie Libbok, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Werner Kok, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Phepsi Buthelezi, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Dylan Richardson, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Yaw Penxe

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