- Sharks coach Sean Everitt said he was not worried about the luckless injury run affecting Springbok wing S’bu Nkosi this year.
- Various niggles have kept Nkosi out of key matches throughout the year, and he again misses out on Friday’s Cheetahs clash.
- Yaw Penxe earns his first start in Sharks colours since making the switch from the Southern Kings to Durban.
Springbok wing S’bu Nkosi’s year has taken an uncharacteristically brittle nature on the injury front, which has kept him out of important games and disrupted his flow.
After missing round one, and making his second start of the Super Rugby Unlocked competition against the Pumas last weekend, the Sharks right winger was again laid off this week due to a knock.
However, his impact on the team when he plays is noticeable, following his try-scoring display in Nelspruit last weekend.
It’s the reason why Sharks head coach Sean Everitt said on Wednesday that he was not worried about Nkosi’s luckless injury run in 2020.
"I’m not concerned about his ability to stay fit at all," said Everitt, who named his squad on Wednesday to face the Cheetahs on Friday night.
"S’bu hurt his hamstring during the first week of tour [[during Super Rugby], where he was a bit unlucky. Then he played against the Jaguares and the Stormers.
"Unfortunately, in a practice game just before the first round, someone landed on his shoulder and he compressed his sternum. So, he’s been a bit unlucky but I’m not concerned at all.
"He has been out for a while but you could see in his form last week that he certainly hasn’t lost any of his class.
"He played really well and showed a huge amount of energy on the field. He made a good turnover by scrambling back 80metres. He’s still in form."
Nkosi’s absence has necessitated another change in the three-quarters, with former Southern Kings star Yaw Penxe coming in at right wing.
Madosh Tambwe, who got his first start in the left wing position against the Pumas last weekend, keeps his place, while SA Sevens star Werner Kok comes back to the team via the bench after missing out completely last time out.
Everitt said they were used to the adjustments they’ve had to make, and were in a fine position depth-wise in those positions.
"We’re not finding our feet; we’ve been together for a while now," he said.
"But it is about giving people opportunities. We’ve got a bigger squad, with a lot of depth in those positions.
"Werner got three starts plus he played the Green versus Gold game. Yaw has come off the bench against the Pumas and he was impressive, so he’s earned his start.
"I’m very happy for him (Penxe) and I am very confident in giving him that opportunity."
15 Manie Libbok, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Henco Venter (captain), 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 JJ van der Mescht, 3 John-Hubert Meyer, 2 Dan Jooste, 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Werner Kok
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Malcolm Jaer, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Junior Pokomela (captain), 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Charles Marais
Substitutes: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Khutha Mchunu , 19 Oupa Mohoje , 20 Jeandre Rudolph, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Chris Smit