Ruan Pienaar makes his Sharks return against Munster

Ruan Pienaar makes his Sharks return against Munster

The Sharks open their account in the United Rugby Championship against Munster on Saturday evening.

Head coach Sean Everitt has backed continuity into this history-making rugby event in the first competitive game against a northern hemisphere team.He has stuck with the same pack of forwards that lined up against the Bulls in the Currie Cup Final, while Ruan Pienaar, on loan from Cheetahs, marks his return to the Sharks after an 11-year absence from the team where his senior career began and blossomed.


The only other change to the starting XV sees Boeta Chamberlain named at flyhalf after the departure of Lionel Cronje following his short-term stint with the Durban side during the course of the Currie Cup.

There is a welcome return for the lock duo of Hyron Andrews and Ruben van Heerden, the pair have been named on a forward-dominated, 6-2 split bench.

Prop Thomas du Toit is expecting a huge onslaught from the Irish team, that he spent time on loan to during the 2016/17 season, but warns that his side won’t be holding back either, with both sides looking to impose themselves physically.


“They’re a physical side, all Irish sides are, but that doesn’t that South African sides are not as physical, it’s definitely going to be a tough game of rugby with physicality at the front and centre. We as South Africans don’t want to disappoint as far as physicality goes.”

With their Bulls connection via coach Johann van Graan, du Toit admits that there are going to be similarities between Munster and the local Pretoria team but explains their well-roundedness makes them a very dangerous opponent.


“Munster have a good kicking game and will look to play in the right areas of the field, but when they need to put the ball through phases, they can do that. So the big challenge for us is going to be stopping their momentum throughout the game.”

Sharks

  1. Khwezi Mona
  2. Kerron van Vuuren
  3. Thomas du Toit (v/c)
  4. Le Roux Roets
  5. Gerbrandt Grobler
  6. Dylan Richardson
  7. Henco Venter
  8. Phepsi Buthelezi (c)
  9. Ruan Pienaar
  10. Boeta Chamberlain
  11. Thaakir Abrahams
  12. Marius Louw
  13. Werner Kok
  14. Yaw Penxe
  15. Curwin Bosch

Replacements

  1. Fez Mbatha
  2. Ntuthuko Mchunu
  3. Khutha Mchunu
  4. Hyron Andrews
  5. Ruben van Heerden
  6. Mpilo Gumede
  7. Sanele Nohamba
  8. Jeremy Ward

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