The Sharks today announced that by mutual consent the CellC Sharks head coach, Sean Everitt has stepped down from his role with immediate effect.
Neil Powell will oversee the rest of the URC and first foray into the Heiniken Cup. He will be assisted by the current senior coaching structure.
I do feel for Sean as he’s been with the Sharks since 2008 and did coach the Sharks U19’s to the title in 2018. That said unfortunately the recent form and results did not leave Sharks management with a lot of choices as something had to change and it’s usually the head coach that must fall on his sword.
I personally wish Sean all the best for his future!
The Sharks will also (on top of Mbonambi, Etzebeth, Kolisi, Hendrikse and Mapimpi) be missing Thomas du Toit, Ntuthuko Mchunu and Grant Williams due to Bok duties. James Venter will captain the team on Sunday with Rohan Janse van Rensburg (back from suspension) partnering Francois Venter in the midfield. Anthony Volmink runs from 15 in place of the injured Aphelele Fassi, while Lionel Cronje and Ben Tapuai are also back from injury.
Coach Nienaber has decided to revert back to Willemse (10), De Allende (12) and Kriel (13). This means Damian Willemse (55% success rate in 2022) and Faf de Klerk will have to take the place kicks until Manie Libbok comes on in the second half. A backline with Libbok, Willemse and De Allende (or even Libbok, De Allende and Willemse) would have made sure a decent place kicker plays most of the game, and will also be run much better from 10.
Andre Esterhuizen will start at 12 with Damian de Allende shifting to 13. Jasper Wiese is back at 8 with Franco Mostert moving to 7. Marvin Orie and Salmaan Moerat will be the starting locks with Eben Etzebeth moving to the bench. Evan Roos should get his second Bok cap later in the game.
Aphelele Fassi has sustained an ankle injury and will be out for 8 weeks. Gianni Lombard will start in the fullback jersey with Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu replacing Johan Goosen who will cover the backline along with Sanele Nohamba. Marco van Staden will provide more balance to the loose trio with Phepsi Buthelezi moving down to the bench. JJ Kotze and Mornay Smith should feature later in the second half.
Manie Libbok will likely feature later in the game against France with Damian Willemse retaining the 10 jersey. Rienaber has made a number of changes to the team that lost to Ireland. Franco Mostert slots in for the injured Lood de Jager with Marvin Orie moving onto the bench. Willie le Roux starts in the 15 jersey with Cheslin Kolbe moving back to 14, and Kurt-Lee Arendse moves over to 11. Faf de Klerk starts with Cobus Reinach on the bench. Ox Nche and Bongi Mbonambi swap jerseys with Steven Kitshoff and Malcolm Marx.
Lourens Adriaanse has been diagnosed with lymphoma cancer and is currently on treatment. He has therefore decided to retire from professional rugby and focus on regaining his health. He plans to finish his articles in accounting.
Lourens contributed to the Sharks team from 2014-2017 and again since 2021. We wish him a speedy recovery and all the best in his new career.
The du Preez twins have been called up for the SA A team with Jean-Luc slotting in at 8 while Phepsi will start as the open side flank. I assume Dan du Preez will cover lock. Both Stormers hookers have been selected – so Ruan Nortje and Jason Jenkins can expect a tough time in the lineouts.
Cheslin Kolbe has been selected to start at fullback completing a very dangerous back three with Kurt-Lee Arendse and Makazole Mapimpi. Hopefully the inside backs can manage to manipulate the Irish defenses to provide them with some ball in good positions to show their magic. We know they will be chasing box kicks most of the time though.