Look who’s back — Lukhanyo Am returns to action for the Sharks
The winless Sharks will be keen to right the wrongs of their early season results when they host Connacht in Durban.
Lukhanyo Am is ready for action once again. Picture: Steve Haag Sports/Gallo Images
Two-time Rugby World Cup winner, Springbok Lukhanyo Am, will return to action on Saturday when the Sharks face off with Irish side, Connacht, in a United Rugby Championship match in Durban.
Am, who was part of the Springboks squad in France as a replacement for Sharks teammate Makazole Mapimpi, will play his first competitive match since getting injured against Argentina in a World Cup warm-up Test in August.
The addition of Am to the Sharks fold is greatly welcomed as the team need to get their URC campaign back on track as they are at the bottom of the table with no win in their four matches.
Sharks defence coach Joey Mongalo is positive that Am will hit the ground running and be influential in defence and attack.
“Lukhanyo has been with us a bit longer than the other Springboks, he’s trained with us a couple of times, and he’s quite connected to what we are doing,” Mongalo said on Friday.
“He’s going to add value on defence and attack; it’s great to have a Springbok with his experience (in the team). It’s about how quickly he can connect with the rest of the backs, attack and defence, to add the value that we all know he already has.
“He’ll be a man that will be hungry to play again, it’s been a while since he’s played, so I think for him, it’s great to be back in the playing field.”
The last time the Sharks hosted Connacht at Durban’s Kings Park in the URC they won the 41-21. They will be hoping for a similar result to get their first win of the season.
Looking at their opponents, Mongalo said he expects them to have the Irish rugby DNA added to their physicality.
“The Irish sides (Connacht, Ulster, Leinster, and Munster) have always got some degree of connectedness because their main governing body always gives an idea of how they should play,” he said.
“You always see similar things in all of them. I’d like to say Connacht are slightly different, they have started well and won three out of four.
“For an Irish side, they are incredibly physical, they are confrontational. They have got the ability to play around you but there’s a sense that they can go through you,” said the former Bulls assistant coach.
Sharks: Aphelele Fassi, Werner Kok, Lukhanyo Am, Francois Venter (capt), Aphiwe Dyantyi, Curwin Bosch, Cameron Wright, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Phepsi Buthelezi, James Venter, Emile van Heerden, Corne Rahl, Coenie Oosthuizen, Dylan Richardson, Ntuthuko Mchunu. Bench: Daniel Jooste, Dian Bleuler, Hanro Jacobs, Jeandre Labuschagne, Tinotenda Mavesere, Zee Mkhabela, Boeta Chamberlain, Rohan Janse van Rensburg.