Sharks go French for Mvovo's ton
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Experienced French fullback Clement Poitrenaud could make his Super Rugby debut from the bench for the Sharks' opener against the Reds in Brisbane, however, the focus will be on Lwazi Mvovo's milestone achievement.
The Springbok wing will join a select group of Super Rugby centurions and head coach Robert du Preez expressed his joy at this accomplishment.
"I'm very pleased for Lwazi on gaining his 100th Super Rugby cap - that's a massive achievement. He's a guy who always sets high standards for himself and it's great to have a guy with that sort of experience in our set-up, who always sets a good example for the young guys in the team. Hopefully, we'll give him a good present on Friday," du Preez said.
Poitrenaud brings a wealth of experience to the replacements bench that features Springboks Mahlatse Ralepelle and Lourens Adriaanse. The French fullback has amassed 47 international caps and provides cover for the exciting Curwin Bosch.
Du Preez had no hesitation in handing a Sharks debut to Kobus van Wyk, who joined the Durban-based franchise from the Stormers in October 2016, while another former Stormers player Jacques Vermeulen, could have his first run out after being named on the bench.
Patrick Lambie will lead a team with a strong mix of youth and experience. Young players who have performed in pre-season have been given the opportunity to impress further.
"We rewarded the guys that have really done well so far - there were no surprises. I think this is an exciting side and I'm really looking forward to seeing how we go on Friday. It's going to be a tough challenge," he added.
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie (captain), 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Mahlatse Ralepelle, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Clement Poitrenaud.
Date: Friday, February 24
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 19.00 (09.00 GMT; 11.00 CAT)
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Nic Berry (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)