Du Toit begins tighthead journey against Bulls
PRE-SEASON TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Sharks head coach Robert du Preez has named two teams for his side's Super Rugby pre-season clash against the Bulls at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.
The squad consists of a first-half team and a second-half team. Both teams have been shuffled, with a mixture of youth and experience. Ruan Botha will lead the first-half team with Franco Marais captaining in the second half.
With Coenraad Oosthuizen out for an extended period, the Sharks have held discussions with the Springbok coaching staff and all are in agreement that Thomas du Toit will focus on playing tighthead prop during this year's Super Rugby season.
Du Toit will start in the No.3 jersey for the first-half team against the Bulls on Saturday.
"Our success is dependent on how well we utilise our squad," said Du Preez.
"Potentially 38 players will be involved in Super Rugby so there are opportunities for everyone."
In terms of how Super Rugby preparations are going, Du Preez added: "I believe we're a much fitter team this year than last. We're also better in terms of rugby related training and preparation. We spent a lot of time on the players from a conditioning point of view but also as far as skill development goes.
"I would like to see that the stuff we’ve worked hard on is shown in the games. A big focus is on scoring more tries in Super Rugby and we want to see where we're at. You can practice as much and as hard as you want to, but when it comes to the real thing, it’s a bit different in the game scenario.
"I'm also not too concerned about the results of the warm-up games, but I want to gauge how far we are in terms of our conditioning levels."
First-half team: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Jacobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Jeremy Ward, 11 Sibusiso Nkosi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Juan Schoeman
Second-half team: 15 Garth April, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Tristan Blewett, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Courtney Winnaar, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu, 7 Wian Vosloo, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 John-Hubert Meyer, 2 Franco Marais (captain), 1 Mzamo Majola
Extra players: Mahlatse Ralepelle , Khuta Mchunu
Date: Saturday, January 27
Venue: Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
Kick-off: 18.00 (16.00 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper