Sport / Rugby

Heinz Schenk
1 minute read
14 Feb 2019
3:14 pm

An order of Fassi magic with a side of ‘Pepsi’ for Sharks

Heinz Schenk

Coach Robert du Preez wastes little time introducing the new generation of potential stars against the Sunwolves.

Courtnall Skosan of the Emirates Lions and Aphelele Fassi of the Cell C Sharks during the during the Super Rugby, #SuperHeroSunday match between Emirates Lions and Cell C Sharks at Cape Town Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: Anton Geyser/Gallo Images

No-one can complain this week that Sharks coach Robert du Preez didn’t back up his words with deeds.

Before the Durbanites’ departure for Singapore, where they’ll play the Sunwolves on Saturday, he’d spoken glowingly about the youngsters in the squad.

“All the youngsters are excited and they bring a lot of energy,” said Du Preez.

“They put a lot of pressure on the guys who have been around but that competition is very healthy and I like that.”

He enjoyed that competition to such an extent that he’s picked 21-year-old Aphelele Fassi to make his Super Rugby debut.

It’s a testament to the former Dale College pupil’s impact at Currie Cup level last season, where he impressed with his incisive attacking contributions.

Admittedly his promotion came as a result of Curwin Bosch’s shoulder injury, but the Sharks could easily have gone the safety-first route with Rhyno Smith, who’s on the bench.

Furthermore, Du Preez has included homegrown product Khutha Mchunu as replacement, while Phendulani ‘Pepsi’ Buthelezi completes a meteoric rise from  Sharks Craven Week skipper to potential debutant within the space of 18 months.

“I’m sure that everyone of those players will make the step up when they get the opportunity,” said Du Preez.

Sharks: Aphelele Fassi, S’bu Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am, Andre Esterhuizen, Makazole Mapimpi, Robert du Preez jr, Louis Schreuder (c), Dan du Preez, Tyler Paul, Jacques Vermeulen, Ruan Botha, Hyron Andrews, Coenie Oosthuizen, Akker van der Merwe, Beast Mtawarira. Bench: Kerron van Vuuren, Juan Schoeman, Khutha Mchunu, Gideon Koegelenberg, Phepsi Buthelezi, Cameron Wright, Rhyno Smith, Jeremy Ward.

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