Currie Cup

Covid-cleared Sharks boosted by presence of Bok tighthead Du Toit

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Thomas du Toit (Gallo Images)
Thomas du Toit (Gallo Images)

Sharks coach Sean Everitt has named his team for Saturday's Currie Cup semi-final against Western Province in Cape Town.

The Sharks mentor has been able to select from a full squad after Covid-19 delays allowed players not available to get through the protocols and return for contention.

Springbok centre Lukhanyo Am leads the team with flank Henco Venter adding his voice to the leadership that will be required in a high stakes clash.

The Sharks also welcome back Springbok tighthead prop Thomas du Toit, who has been out since suffering a rib injury in the 32-29 win over the Bulls in Durban on 12 December. Before that, Du Toit had also been struggling with a calf injury.

Du Toit's presence could be key for the Sharks, especially after Western Province were unable to field Springbok loosehead Steven Kitshoff due to Covid-19 protocols. Du Toit will instead front up against Ali Vermaak.

Skipper Am, in the lead-up to the game, admitted: "The delay was a blessing in disguise, giving teams a longer period to prepare for the semi-finals and to sharpen up on the issues that needed to be improved upon."
 
He added that he didn't believe there would be a break in their momentum, saying: "With the group we have that's been together for a long time, missing a week isn't something that we feel will bite us. It happens normally in season and I still believe it came at the perfect time."
 
The match has been hyped up as pitting an exciting Sharks' backline against a dominant WP pack and Am felt that both sides would look to counter their opponents' strengths.
 
"We know what Western Province's strengths are in terms of set-piece dominance, they've proven it throughout the competition, so from our side, we've been working on us mainly, to try strengthen any parts we feel need working on.
 
"If we're able to get our own set-piece going and challenge them on theirs, I think it will be a very exciting game to watch."

Saturday's clash at Newlands is scheduled for 16:30.

Teams:

Western Province

15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Angelo Davids, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ali Vermaak

Substitutes (from): 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Ernst van Rhyn, 21 Jaco Coetzee, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Ruhan Nel, 24 Sazi Sandi, 25 Tristan Leyds

Sharks

15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 JJ van der Mescht, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Fez Mbatha, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Jaden Hendrikse, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Manie Libbok

- Compiled by Sport24 staff

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