According to the Beeld website it has been confirmed that the Sharks will play two friendly warm-up games against two local sides as part of their preparations for Super Rugby.
Keegan Daniel’s men will play the Leopards on 8 February at the Woodburn stadium in Pietermaritzburg and a week later (15 February) they will face the Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
Sharks assistant coach Grant Bashford said a lot of emphasis was put on the players’ conditioning during the off-season.
Flyhalf Butch James and lock Franco van der Merwe – who joined from the Lions at the end of last season – are already hard at work with their new team-mates, while Springbok Francois Steyn will also be part of the squad after ending his contract with French club Racing Metro.
The Sharks start their Super Rugby campaign agaisnt the Stormers at Kings Park on 2 March.
Sharks’ Super Rugby squad:
Fullbacks: Louis Ludik, Gouws Prinsloo, Riaan Viljoen.
Wings: Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndugane, JP PIetersen, Sibusiso Sithole.
Centres: Meyer Bosman, Paul Jordaan, Wandile Mjekevu, Frans Steyn, Tim Whitehead, Heimar Williams.
Flyhalves: Patrick Lambie, Butch James.
Scrumhalves: Cobus Reinach, Charl McLeod, Conrad Hoffmann.
Props: Dale Chadwick, Jannie du Plessis, Wiehahn Herbst, Tendai Mtawarira, Julian Redelinghuys.
Hookers: Craig Burden, Kyle Cooper, Monde Hadebe, Bismarck du Plessis.
Locks: Anton Bresler, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jaundre Marais, Peet Marais, Franco van der Merwe.
Loose forwards: Willem Alberts, Jacques Botes, Marcell Coetzee,Keegan Daniel (captain), Jean Deysel, Ryan Kankowski, Francois Kleinhans, Lubabalo Mtembu.
Looking at the squad it is clear to see that coach John Plumtree will follow the usual pattern of playing Meyer Bosman at flyhalf if injuries seriously hampered the Sharks in the position of pivot during the season. However there might still be surprises when the team is selected.
I have a feeling Pieter-Steph du Toit is going to come more into reckoning at Lock.
Ialso do not for example see Wandile Mjekevu coming into the team if Paul Jordaan was to get injured, my gut feel is Tim Whitehead or JP Pietersen will cover outside center.