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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Phepsi Buthelezi skippers Sharks against Edinburgh as Springboks put their feet up

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Durban – The Sharks have lost a chunk of their Springboks to national resting protocols for Saturday’s visit to Edinburgh, with Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Jaden Hendrikse and Lukhanyo Am back in Durban with their feet up.

It is the loss of in-form Etzebeth and Kolisi that will most impact the Sharks and the pack will be lighter with replacements Hyron Andrews and Henco Venter.

In another change to the pack, Vincent Tshituka is out injured and is replaced by James Venter while Phepsi Buthelezi captains the team from No 8.

The electric Grant Williams comes in for Hendrikse in a like-for-like change and at outside centre, Am is replaced by Francois Venter, who partners Ben Tapuai.

“At this stage of the season, we’ve addressed where we’re lying on the log and where we feel we should be sitting, but we have played two games less than some of the teams, and we know the games we have left we have to win and that starts this weekend where we’re looking to put in a good performance,” Tapuai said.

Despite the Edinburgh team missing players to the Scottish camp this weekend, Tapuai believes their opponents will be no less dangerous.

“We can’t read too much into that, they are a very strong side that has been in this competition for a long time, while this is only our second year and we’re still learning the ropes.

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“Whether they have their Scottish internationals or they don’t, we know it’s important for their campaign to try and finish as high as they can, and the same for us.

“Coming off a disappointing loss against Harlequins last week, we’re just focusing on ourselves and trying to get everything sorted for this match.”

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Sharks team: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Marnus Potgieter, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Grant Williams, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi (c), 7 Henco Venter, 6 James Venter, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche.

Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Carlü Sadie, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Yaw Penxe.

IOL Sport

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