Cape Town – Three newcomers – Sikhumbuzo Notshe, James Venter and Ox Nche – have been named in the Sharks’ starting line-up for Friday’s Super Rugby opener against the Bulls at Kings Park.
Head coach Sean Everitt named his side on Wednesday, with skipper Lukhanyo Am one of three World Cup-winning Springboks in the backline where Makazole Mapimpi and Sbu Nkosi also start.
Notshe and Ntshe, who have arrived from the Stormers and Cheetahs, respectively, are the Sharks’ two high-profile signings this season and they look to kickstart a new era under Everitt and CEO Ed Coetzee.
“There’s a strong vibe in the camp and we’re all looking forward to Super Rugby kicking off,” Sharks flyhalf Curwin Bosch said.
With Bosch settled in the number 10 jersey, he recognises this as an opportunity to entrench himself.
“For me to grow in confidence at 10, I need game time there, that’s how a player gets better and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.
Opposite him is likely to be 35-year-old Springbok Morne Steyn, who returns to Pretoria after a stint of French rugby. Bosch admits that Steyn will be an important factor for the men in blue.
“Morne brings a lot of experience to his side, they’ve lost quite a few players overseas and because he’s such a good kicker, we know our discipline and game management need to be really sharp this weekend,” he said.
“But we’re going into this weekend’s game with a plan and if we stick to it, the result will take care of itself.”
The match kicks off at 19:10.
15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Andre 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
Substitutes: 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
Centre Lukhanyo Am leads an exciting Cell C Sharks’ team in their opening Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Vodacom @BlueBullsRugby at Jonsson Kings Park on Friday evening.Full article and team: https://t.co/m4J484b1Ua#OurSharksForever #WakandaForever #SHAvBUL pic.twitter.com/TUthIdLjJM
— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) January 29, 2020