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Big guns for Dragons

Plum has hauled out the big artillery for the game against the Dragons. Eben Etzebeth and Ox Nche (from the bench) will add some much needed muscle in the pack while Jaden Hendrikse and Grant Williams (from the bench) will hopefully add some starting zip to the attack (Cam Wright actually did a pretty decent holding job in the mean time). Makazole Mapimpi should improve the finishing of opportunities.

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Will the Bok cavalry save the Sharks?

The bad news is that Bongi Mbonambi is expected to be out for 6 months and Vincent Koch for around 3 months. The only other two Boks what will bolster the pack at some point will be Ox Nche and Eben Etzebeth. The remaining Boks that can add zip to the back line is Jaden Hendrikse, Grant Williams and Makazole Mapimpi. That is the makeup of the available cavalry unfortunately. There are a number of players out injured that can certainly add value to the squad.

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Boeta starts against Zebre

The Sharks will be desperate to finish their tour with a win. They will have to make a major improvement in their handling, decision making and work rate. The Sharks just could not get any momentum as each time a silly error just handed over possession to the opposition.

Curwin Bosch is out injured so Boeta Chamberlain will get an opportunity to run the back line. Dan Jooste is back on the bench and Lionel Cronje (what happened to Jordan Hendrikse and Siya Masuku?) may make an appearance later in the game.

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Two young locks vs Leinster

Reniel Hugo picked up a shoulder injury early in the game against Munster and Hyron Andrews has been called up in his place. Corne Rahl will start along Emile van Heerden. Plum has made a number of positional changes – Phepsi moves back to 9 with Tshituka starting at 7. Francois Venter moves to 13 and Rohan Janse van Rensburg starts at 12.

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7-1 for the final

Rasnaber has selected a high risk team for the final against the All Blacks. Not only have they gone for a 7-1 bench split but there is only one scrumhalf and one decent place kicker in the squad. If this works out Rassie will go into the rugby annals as an utter genius.

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Team for Munster

The Sharks start their URC campaign with a tough game against Munster in Ireland. Emile van Heerden will partner Reniel Hugo in the second row while Phepsi Buthelezi has moved to blindside flank to make way for George Cronje. Murray Koster partners Francois Venter in midfield. Curwin Bosch will run the show from flyhalf while Boeta Chamberlain is retained at full back. Vincent Tshituka will cover lock with Sikhumbuzo Notshe covering the loose forwards.

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No underestimating England

Rasnaber has selected exactly the same team for the first time in the World Cup (and apparently only the second time since 2018). I was expecting players like Malherbe, Etzebeth and Vermeulen to have a break after a real challenging game against France.

England will come out storming and snorting but the Boks should still have too much ammo for the Roses to beat them. The Boks had a two week break before the France game (and many players three) so they should still be relatively fresh. It will be tough to fully get up mentally after that roller coaster last week, but playing most South Africans’ least favourite team will certainly motivate the Boks.

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Plum selects Venter to lead the Sharks

The Sharks play Munster in Ireland this Saturday and will be without their Boks for the 4 game tour of Ireland, Wales and Italy.

Aphiwe Dyantyi, George Cronje and Francois Hougaard will make their debuts for the Sharks. Blast from the past Coenie Oosthuizen will also feature in the squad. Reniel Hugo is the only experienced lock in the squad (Gerbrand Grobler suffered an injury in the pre-season) but it will be time for Corne Rahl and Emile van Heerden to shine at this level.

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