Sharks coach Everitt forced into change after Bok Nkosi withdrawn
Sharks coach Sean Everitt has resisted the temptation to start with Sanele Nohamba‚ but was forced into another change at wing for Friday’s Super Rugby date with the Highlanders in Dunedin.
Madosh Tambwe will make his Sharks Super Rugby debut at right wing where he replaces the injured S’bu Nkosi. The Springbok wing has a minor niggle that is serious enough to have him out of the first game of the four-match tour.
Louis Schreuder will stay as the starting scrumhalf while captain Lukhanyo Am and reserve hooker Craig Burden will be raising their 50th Super Rugby matches for the Sharks.
Having escaped the searing February heat in Durban‚ Everitt said they should be playing better rugby in far more amenable conditions.
“The conditions will suit us. I think the guys will find it refreshing though this first week is tough because we’ll have just one training session due to the travel‚” Everitt said.
“But we are happy with all the prep we did in preseason‚ and the fact that the injury toll wasn’t serious outside a minor niggle that S’bu has‚ is a big plus.”
Maybe Everitt keeping Schreuder as the starting halfback was informed by Aaron Mauger’s decision to start with experienced All Black scrumhalf Aaron Smith.
The Highlanders have debutants in pivot Mitch Hunt and wings Jona Nareki and Tima Fainga’anuku.
Former Blues player Michael Collins‚ loose forward Teariki Ben-Nicholas and lock Jesse Parete will make their debuts off the bench.
Everitt understands that winning all four games on tour is a tough ask‚ but getting off to a winning start is critical. Maintaining consistency is most important for Everitt at the moment.
“We’ve said this before that this team needs to be more consistent. We’ve been criticised for that‚ so consistency is key‚” he said.
“We know that being away for four weeks overseas is tough but this team has a vibe about it and they are really keen to take up the challenge.”
Highlanders: 15 Josh McKay‚ 14 Tima Fainga’anuku‚ 13 Rob Thompson‚ 12 Josh Ioane‚ 11 Jona Nareki‚ 10 Mitch Hunt‚ 9 Aaron Smith‚ 8 Marino Mikaele Tu’u‚ 7 James Lentjes (capt)‚ 6 Dillon Hunt‚ 5 Josh Dickson‚ 4 Pari Pari Parkinson‚ 3 Siate Tokolahi‚ 2 Liam Coltman‚ 1 Ayden Johnstone. Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon‚ 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown‚ 18 Josh Iosefa-Scott‚ 19 Jesse Parete‚ 20 Shannon Frizell‚ 21 Kayne Hammington‚ 22 Michael Collins‚ 23 Teariki Ben-Nicholas
Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi‚ 14 Madosh Tambwe‚ 13 Lukhanyo Am (capt)‚ 12 André Esterhuizen‚ 11 Makazole Mapimpi‚ 10 Curwin Bosch‚ 9 Louis Schreuder‚ 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe‚ 7 Tyler Paul‚ 6 James Venter‚ 5 Hyron Andrews‚ 4 Ruben van Heerden‚ 3 Thomas du Toit‚ 2 Kerron van Vuuren‚ 1 Ox Nche. Replacements: 16 Craig Burden‚ 17 Juan Schoeman‚ 18 John-Hubert Meyer‚ 19 Le Roux Roets‚ 20 Henco Venter‚ 21 Sanele Nohamba‚ 22 Boeta Chamberlain‚ 23 Jeremy Ward
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant referees: Paul Williams‚ James Doleman
TMO: Chris Hart