Jacques van der Westhuyzen

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

Etzebeth back for Sharks as Plumtree loads up on Bok World Cup winners

There will be plenty of confidence in the Durban-based side following a string of good results recently.

Sharks boss John Plumtree has picked seven 2023 Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks in his starting team for the Challenge Cup quarter-final against Edinburgh in Durban on Saturday (kick-off 1.30pm).

The Sharks go into the game on the back of three straight wins so they have momentum with them, though they are well out of the running in the United Rugby Championship, having suffered a strong of defeats.

Plumtree and Co have earmarked the Challenge Cup as the top priority for the remainder of the season and the Sharks will fancy their chances against the Scottish side on home soil.

Etzebeth back in action

More so when one factors in the Sharks beat Edinburgh in the URC at the same venue just a few weeks ago.

Eben Etzebeth, who missed the last clash against Zebre with a back injury, is back in the mix this week, boosting an already powerful lineup.

Hooker and one of those World Cup Boks, Bongi Mbonambi, said a big test awaited his men.

“It’s a quarter-final, they will bring their best team, hoping to advance to the semi-finals,” he admits.
“We’re preparing for their best team.”

“But, the mood in the camp is good, there’s a lot of energy and the injured guys coming back, like Emile van Heerden, Eben Etzebeth and Vincent Koch, make a big difference to the forward pack.

“The road to the final won’t be easy, but for now our focus is on the quarter-final and getting over that and that’s how we move forward in this competition, how we get better.”

Sharks: Aphelele Fassi, Werner Kok, Lukhanyo Am (capt), Ethan Hooker, Makazole Mapimpi, Siya Masuku, Jaden Hendrikse, Phepsi Buthulezi, Vincent Tshituka, James Venter, Emile van Heerden, Eben Etzebeth, Vincent Koch, Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche. Bench: Dan Jooste, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Hanro Jacobs, Corne Rahl, Jeandre Labuschagne, Grant Williams, Curwin Bosch, Francois Venter

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