Sharks wary of Leinster 'B team' ahead of crucial URC meeting in Durban
Sharks coach Sean Everitt believes taking Leinster’s “B team” lightly ahead of the sides’ crucial United Rugby Championship (URC) clash would be a dangerous thing to do.
Everitt’s men host the European tourists in a big fight for URC quarterfinal spots at Kings Park Stadium in Durban on Saturday (6.15pm).
The Irish giants, Leinster, lead the URC standings with 60 points with only three games left before the knockouts.
The Leo Cullen-coached side are eight points ahead of the second-placed SA side Stormers who have played one more game.
Cullen left a number of Leinster’s big stars for the SA trip such as skipper and pivot Johnny Sexton, centres Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose, the front row duo of Tadhg Furlong and Cian Healy, lock James Ryan and loose forwards Josh van der Flier and Caelan Doris back home.
Leinster are also involved in the European Champions Cup and have made the quarterfinals there.
But Everitt has warned that Leinster have amazing depth in their squad and whatever team they decide to put out still poses a serious threat to their quarterfinals ambition.
“The Leinster team, regardless of who they put out on the park, they are always going to be a strong one. If you look at their team, there are 10 internationals in it though the big names aren’t here,” Everitt said.
“They are always a formidable outfit. When Six Nations matches were on, Leinster managed to gather 23 log points and that tells you they are a good team.”
The Sharks have received a big boost ahead of the Saturday’s fixture with star fullback Aphelele Fassi back in the starting line-up after missing the past weeks due to an injury.
“He (Fassi) has been very good at training but he hasn’t had much time on the field lately but we are confident in his ability. He is a Springbok and we are very happy to have him back,” Everitt said.
“Prior to his injury, he was playing really good rugby. He got the man of the match award against Benetton so we are very happy to have him because he is good under the high ball and he has got a left boot which he uses well and has improved a lot.
“Probably most of all, it’s his counterattack ability from the back. He has been really good in that regard and he does bring a lot of X factor to the team.”
Sharks Team: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Thomas du Toit (captain), 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche.
Substitutes: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Jeandre Labuschagne, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Boeta Chamberlain.
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