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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter

Mbonambi, Koch and Tshituka return a big boost for Sharks

"We shouldn’t underestimate how they will give the players around them confidence and a lift.”

With the return of Sharks trio Bongi Mbonambi, Vincent Koch and Vincent Tshituka from their respective injuries imminent, former Sharks loose forward Jacques Botes says they will bring experience and level-headedness to the group.

The Sharks have had to go about their United Rugby Championship and Challenge Cup business without the trio, which has left their pack thin, and a contributing factor to their woes this season.

Last month, their director of rugby, Neil Powell, confirmed the trio will join the group in a month, depending on their final phase of rehabilitation.

‘Experience and level-headedness’

The addition of Mbonambi, Koch, and Tshituka to the playing group will help rejuvenate the Sharks, according to Botes.

“There’s been a couple of performances that the Sharks were unlucky, where they weren’t able to pull through,” Botes said when speaking to The Citizen.

“I think some of the reasons for that is maybe the experience and level-headedness and elements of leadership within the group, which I think the likes of Bongi, Vincent and Tshituka can add to the group.

“All three of those players will have a massive impact on the squad. We shouldn’t underestimate how they will give the players around them confidence and a lift.”

Fixing the scrum

The Sharks have been found wanting in the scrums at times this term, and the inclusion of Mbonambi and Koch, both World Cup winners, to the front row provides a solution to that.

“Bongi and Vincent are two-time World Cup winners, and most teams in the world will bend over backwards to have them in their squad,” said Botes.

“Bongi adds a whole new dimension when it comes to the breakdown and scrumming. He’s an unbelievable scrumming hooker who will aid the Sharks pack and combine that with Koch on the tighthead … I think they are going to add much to the team.”

Powerful Tshituka

Botes says loose forward Tshituka’s force and physicality will bring back the Sharks’ bite.

“I think there’s an element of physicality he comes with,” said Botes of the flanker.

“He has shown in the last couple of seasons he’s an all-around solid performer, he carries well, he’s a big threat at the breakdown, he tackles and his work rate is great.”

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