Sharks captain Jaco Gouws has come out in strong support of of his young team ahead of their Absa Currie Cup match against Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday.
Coach Dick Muir has entrusted the captaincy of his alternative team to Gouws since the introduction of his dual squad policy and the eighthman has not disappointed, leading his team to a 34-16 victory over the Puma’s last Friday.
“The rotating of squads is working nicely at this stage,” Gouws told the sharks website. “There are a lot of youngsters, and against the Pumas they played well.”
Gouws spoke with obvious pride at the performance of his team against the Witbank outfit, especially their defensive effort. “A lot of the youngsters pride themselves on their defence and the okes did very well on defence against the Pumas, especially in the second half when they were pushing hard. They showed they were accountable on defence and attack.”
Gouws realises that the Griquas away will be a stern test of his team but believes his young brigade will prove themselves again. “There are youngsters who will put up their hands, showing they are more than capable of performing at this level.”
The Sharks’ side to play Griquas shows three changes to the side that beat the Pumas.
At fullback, Brett Hennessey and Mzwandile Stick swap places in the only change in the backline. Amongst the forwards, Keegan Daniel has been ruled out with an injury sustained at training, and he is replaced by the experienced Warren Britz and in a rotational switch, Jody Jenneker will start in place of Skipper Badenhorst.
Also on the bench, changes see Nikolai Blignaut dropping out for Alistair Hargreaves, Scott Mathie being replaced by Ruan Pienaar and Bradley Barritt coming in for Gcobani Bobo.
Bradley Barritt and Alistair Hargreaves will make their Absa Currie Cup debuts should they play.
Sharks team to play Griquas:
15. Mzwandile Stick 14. Dusty Noble 13. Okkie Vermeulen 12. Andries Strauss 11. Craig Burden 10. Steve Meyer 9. Sandile Nxumalo 8. Ryan Kankowski 7. Jaco Gouws (capt) 6. Warren Britz 5. Steven Sykes 4.Wouter Moore 3. Danie Saayman 2. Jody Jenneker 1. Kees Lensing.
Substitutes: 16 Skipper Badenhorst, 17 Sangoni Mxoli, 18 Alistair Hargreaves, 19 Conrad Stoltz, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Brad Barritt, 22 Brett Hennessey