Sharks blend youth and experience for tour
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Head Coach Robert du Preez has named some exciting youngsters alongside some experienced campaigners in his 27-man touring squad that depart for Australia on Saturday.
Du Preez also announced his final 45-man Super Rugby on Thursday.
The Sharks coach said he would reward players who put up their hands in the warm-up matches regardless of age and he has kept true to his word by selecting four uncapped Super Rugby players to join the touring squad namely Stephan Coetzee, Jean Droste, Sbu Nkosi and new signing Jacques Vermeulen.
Joining them in the touring squad are the other new signings Kobus van Wyk, Jeremy Ward and the highly-experienced French international Clement Poitrenaud.
Amongst the new faces in the squad, the coach has also opted for continuity in certain positions by selecting players who did duty for the Sharks in last year's tournament.
"It was an extremely tough decision to settle on this 27-man touring squad. We were initially looking at selecting a 15/12 split for the tour, but due to the cover we have amongst the backs the decision was taken to go with 16 forwards and 11 backs," said Du Preez.
"The 27 players selected have all put up their hands not only during the pre-season, but in the two warm-up matches.
"There is a good balance between experience and youth in this travelling squad. A guy like Sbu Nkosi, who played for the SA Under-20s last year, has impressed me with his strong work ethic and he deserves his chance."
The most capped Sharks player forming part of the touring squad is Lwazi Mvovo on 99 Super Rugby caps.
He will join an illustrious club of centurions on tour who have played 100 Super Rugby games for the Sharks.
In announcing his 45-man squad, Du Preez said: "The work ethic and spirit that these players brought to our pre-season was incredible and all credit goes to them for the positive energy that has been currently created.
"We effectively had a 13-week pre-season and there were no excuses at practice sessions or any complaints about being overworked, and as a coaching unit we commend our players for this.”
Du Preez added: "There are a lot of players in our 45-man squad who are definitely going to be in the mix going forward. There is great depth, but unfortunately, only 27 players can tour."
Sharks Super Rugby squad: Tendai Mtawarira, Andre Esterhuizen, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, Coenie Oosthuizen, Clement Poitrenaud, Daniel du Preez, Cobus Reinach, Etienne Oosthuizen, Curwin Bosch, Franco Marais, Garth April, Francois Kleinhans, Hanco Venter, Hyron Andrews, Inny Radebe, Jacques Vermeulen, Jeremy Ward, Jean Deysel, Johan Deysel, Jean Droste, Kobus van Wyk, Jean-Luc du Preez, Lukhanyo Am, John-Hubert Meyer, Lwazi Mvovo, Juan Schoeman, Marius Louw, Keegan Daniel, Michael Claassens, Khaya Majola, Odwa Ndungane, Lourens Adriaanse, Patrick Lambie (captain), Philip van der Walt, Rhyno Smith, Ruan Botha, Rowan Gouws, Stephan Coetzee, Sibusiso Sithole, Stephan Lewies, Sbu Nkosi, Lubabalo Mtembu, Tristan Blewett, Thomas du Toit.
Sharks Touring squad: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Andre Esterhuizen, Coenie Oosthuizen, Clement Poitrenaud, Etienne Oosthuizen, Cobus Reinach, Franco Marais, Curwin Bosch, Jacques Vermeulen, Jeremy Ward, Jean Droste, Kobus van Wyk, Jean-Luc du Preez, Lukhanyo Am, Juan Schoeman, Lwazi Mvovo, Lourens Adriaanse, Michael Claassens, Philip van der Walt, Patrick Lambie, Ruan Botha, Sbu Nkosi, Stephan Coetzee, Stephan Lewies, Tendai Mtawarira, Lubabalo Mtembu, Thomas du Toit.