Bosch gets pivotal role
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Curwin Bosch will start for the Sharks in their opening Currie Cup Premier Division match against the Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
Utility back Bosch, who represented the Junior Springboks at the World Under-20 Championship in Manchester this year, gets the all-important No.10 jersey in a team which features a number of Super Rugby campaigners
Michael Claassens is at scrumhalf with Odwa Ndungane, Neil Maritz and Sibusiso Sithole in the back three. Andre Esterhuizen and Lukhanyo Am are the two centres.
In the pack, captain Keegan Daniel is joined by Jean-Luc du Preez and Philip van der Walt in the back row. Stephan Lewies and Etienne Oosthuizen make up the second row.
Lourens Adriaanse, Franco Marais and Dale Chadwick will pack down in the front row.
"Starting this campaign on a positive note is priority for us," said Sharks head coach Robert du Preez. "I said at the outset that bringing our fans back is something I am passionate about, and by playing a brand of rugby that is entertaining, but also brings us results, is what we intend to do.
"The Pumas can never be taken lightly and we know they will be up for the challenge on Friday. We have a good mixture of youth and experience, and everyone is keen to get our campaign underway.
"Keegan's leadership record speaks for itself and he will play a mentorship role, with the assistance of the other leaders in our squad."
Sharks: 15 Odwa Ndungane, 14 Neil Maritz, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Sibusiso Sithole, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel (captain), 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Mahlatse Ralepelle, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Ruan Botha, 19 Lubabalo Mtembu, 20 Stefan Ungerer, 21 Inny-Christian Radebe, 22 Heimar Williams.
Date: Friday, August 5
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Kick-off: 19.20 (17.20 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Referees: Pro Legoete, Ricus van der Hoven
TMO: Willie Vos