While there’s a lot of excitement about Springbok captain Siya Kolisi finally making his debut on Friday, the Sharks technical team are sweating over Curwin Bosch’s injury.
Kolisi, who joined the Sharks last month from Western Province/Stormers, was named as one of the starters for the clash against the Bulls in the Franchise Cup on Friday night.
The Sharks and Bulls will renew their rivalry at Durban’s King’s Park at 7 pm, in a match that will be the sides’ last outing before their PRO16/Rainbow Cup season starting later next month. Almost all rugby enthusiasts around the country have been eagerly waiting to see the 2019 Rugby World Cup-winning captain running out in the colours of his new side.
Naming his matchday 23, Sharks coach Sean Everitt said Kolisi will start at openside flanker, which the player used to play at his old team, but emphasised that they will be using him to fulfil a different kind of No. 6 role.
“Siya has been working really hard and has been looking good in training so he deserves a start and a chance to show us what he can do in the black and white of the Sharks,” Everitt said on Thursday.
“James Venter, a regular openside option, is unfortunately out injured at the moment, while Dylan Richardson is not feeling well.
“So, Siya gets a start at openside and we will be using him to fulfil a different kind of No. 6 role than he did when he played No. 6 for Western Province,” said Everitt.
The Sharks will have to do without their first-choice flyhalf, Bosch, after the star player sustained a thumb injury and Everitt said they were still in the dark about how bad the injury is.
“Curwin injured his thumb in training and has gone for scans and we will know more about the extent of the injury later,” said the coach.
Young pivot Boeta Chamberlain, who was set to play off the bench, starts the match alongside scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse.
At fullback, Anthony Volmink is the starting fullback ahead of Aphelele Fassi, and the coach said this is an opportunity to see what Volmink can do for them in the position.
“Anthony was brought to the Sharks as a fullback, and we haven’t had a chance to play him there yet in the preparation games, so this is his opportunity to show what he can do there,” said Everitt.
“We know what Aphelele can do, he played in the last stages of the Currie Cup and he also played in the first three preparation games, so he doesn’t need more game time.”
Sharks: 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (capt), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Emile van Heerden, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Fez Mbatha, 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Phepsi Buthelezi, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Rynhardt Jonker, 23 Aphelele Fassi.
Bulls: 15 Richard Kriel, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Marnus Potgieter, 12 Dawid Kellerman, 11 Diego Appollis, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Zak Burger, 8 Nizaam Carr (capt), 7 Tim Agaba, 6 Werner Gouws, 5 Janko Swanepoel, 4 Jan Uys, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Schalk Erasmus, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Substitutes: 16 Janco Uys, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Raynard Roets, 20 WJ Steenkamp, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Clinton Swart, 23 Jay-Cee Nel, 24 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 25 Reinhardt Ludwig, 26 Bernard van der Linde, 27 Niel Beukes.
Sharks v Bulls — 7 pm
Griquas v Pumas — 3 pm
Stormers v Lions — 5.15 pm
Cheetahs v EP Elephants — 3 pm.