Deysel to lead Sharks
Jean Deysel has been confirmed as the captain of the Sharks for the new Currie Cup season, which begins against Western Province in Cape Town on Saturday.
The Springbok forward takes over from another national player, Keegan Daniel, whose form in the Super Rugby competition saw him elevated to the South African team for the Rugby Championship which starts next week.
Deysel will lead a very different team from the one which did duty in the Super Rugby final last week.
Only one player — centre Paul Jordaan — remains in the starting XV.
Ten players have been called up by Bok coach Heyneke Meyer, while Anton Bresler and Charl McLeod are being rested.
Ryan Kankowski and Frederic Michalak have left the union.
“It’s obviously tough with so many players unavailable, but we’re used to that from the past,” coach John Plumtree said.
“We’re excited about some of the youngsters that will get an opportunity to impress and stake their claims for Super Rugby next year.
“If you look at Marcell Coetzee, last year he came on in the Currie Cup and look at him this year, he’s a Springbok.
“You get nice surprises and who knows, we may have another one this year.
“So the development will continue without the players that are not here.
“If the team gels quickly, the confidence will come faster and who knows what can be achieved.”
The team to play at Newlands still boasts several experienced men in the form of Odwa Ndungane, Meyer Bosman, Jacques Botes and Steven Sykes.
Most of the team have had experience playing at the highest domestic level before, either in the Currie Cup or Super Rugby, apart from Rosko Specman, who was named on the bench.
“Province also have many players out and that’s the nice thing about this Currie Cup, you get to see the next tier of talent,” Plumtree said.
“There’ll have a mixture of old faces and new ones in their team too.
“They have a lot of talent down there and their age-grade rugby is very strong. But we’ve done well in this competition in the past without our Springboks and we’re not expecting anything less.
“We have a proud tradition in the competition and in South African rugby in general. So we’re looking forward to it.”
Tim Whitehead (hand) and Pieter-Steph du Toit (ankle) will miss the first round of matches through injury.
Sharks team: Gouws Prinsloo, Odwa Ndungane, Paul Jordaan, Meyer Bosman, S’bura Sithole, Riaan Viljoen, Cobus Reinach, Tera Mtembu, Jean Deysel (captain), Jacques Botes, Jandre Marais, Steven Sykes, Wiehahn Herbst, Craig Burden, Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: Monde Hadebe, Julian Redelinghuys, Peet Marais, Francois Kleinhans, Conrad Hoffmann, Marius Joubert, Rosko Specman.