Sharks coach Robert du Preez is convinced that the selection
of S’busiso Nkosi and Louis Schreuder by the Springboks’ coaching staff is
proof that the Durbanites are on course to make the province a top producer of
talent for the national team.
The exciting duo’s hard work for the Sharks in the Currie Cup hasn’t gone unnoticed as they are set to join the Boks in camp on Sunday for the Rugby Championship.
The Boks will host Australia in Bloemfontein on September 30, before entertaining New Zealand in Cape Town on October 7.
Both Nkosi and Schreuder have played a pivotal role in helping the Sharks reach the summit of the Currie Cup, where they have a whopping 39 points from nine matches.
“That’s what we want to do, you know [produce more players for the Boks] — I think this province has a proud history of producing Boks and there is more to come,” said Du Preez yesterday. “I think their selection is fantastic and well-deserved. As I said to them in a meeting this morning, they also have to thank their fellow players because they are the guys that got them there.”
The 21-year-old Nkosi is the top try scorer in the competition with seven to his name and looks to add more tomorrow when the Sharks take on the Blue Bulls at King’s Park at 3 pm.
Du Preez said he expected his young wing Nkosi to use his time with the national team to take his game to another level.
“He is a guy with an incredible work ethic and obviously has a lot of talent, with his feet firmly on the ground,” said Du Preez, whose men will bid to confirm a semi-final spot this weekend.
“He is a hard worker and will get even better. And Louis too, I think he has had a very good Super Rugby season and coming here, he slotted straight in. He has been a big part of how we have played over the last couple of weeks.
“I’m really pleased for both of them, it’s fantastic.”
While Nkosi will be in camp with the senior nationals for the first time, Schreuder did receive a call-up four years ago as a reward for his performance in the Super Rugby season for the Stormers. However, the scrumhalf is not available for tomorrow’s meeting with the Bulls due to family commitments and has been replaced by Michael Classens.
Chiliboy Ralepelle and Daniel du Preez, who both recently returned from the Boks, are starting at number two and number eight respectively.
At prop, Thomas du Toit starts while Juan Schoeman has been relegated to the bench. Jacques Vermeulen will wear the number seven jersey with Tyler Paul is moving to number four.
“I’m very pleased with the team that we have assembled. We know that’s going to be a very tough encounter and we have to step it up from last week,” said the coach.
With their huge lead in the standings, the Sharks could claim a semi-final berth with a draw, but will be out for yet another win and look ahead to a home semi-final in the Currie Cup.
SHARKS: Garth April, Odwa Ndungane, Jeremy Nel, Marius Louw, S’busiso Nkosi, Curwin Bosch, Michael Claassens, Dan du Preez, Jacques Vermeulen, Keegan Daniel, Ruan Botha (capt), Tyler Paul, Ross Geldenhuys, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Thomas du Toit. Substitutes: Franco Marais, Juan Schoeman, Jean Droste, Tera Mtembu, Cameron Wright, Tristan Blewett, Rhyno Smith.
BULLS: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Burger Odendaal (capt), 12 JT Jackson, 11 Johnny Kotze, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Jano Venter, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Nic de Jager, 5 Aston Fortuin, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Substitutes: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Matthys Basson, 18 Tim Agaba, 19 Marco van Staden, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Handre Pollard, 22 Ulrich Beyers.
CURRIE CUP FIXTURES:
Cheetahs v Pumas — 5.30 pm
Sharks v Bulls — 3 pm
WP v Griquas — 5.15 pm