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Sharks confirm the return date for captain Lukhanyo Am

30 April 2022 - 10:50 By SITHEMBISO DINDI
Springbok centre Lukhanyo Am in the colours of his new team Kobe Steelers of Japan.
Springbok centre Lukhanyo Am in the colours of his new team Kobe Steelers of Japan.
Image: Kobe Steelers

The Sharks are looking forward to welcoming back their captain Lukhanyo Am for their final push for a United Rugby Championship (URC) home quarterfinal spot.

Am, 28, will see his short stint in Japan, where he is playing for the Kobe Steelers, come to an end this coming week and will return to Durban.

The Steelers are out of the running for Japanese League One playoffs which means Am’s last game will be on Sunday, May 8.

It also means the Springbok centre will be available for the Sharks’ final game of the round robin against Ulster in Ireland on May 20.

Sharks coach Sean Everitt is obviously happy with the news and hopes to welcome an even better Am from Japan  

“Lukhanyo will be back, he finishes up in Japan next week and we are looking forward to having him back in the following week,” Everitt said.

“We haven’t watched any of his games, but I have chatted to him on a weekly basis and he is in a good space and really enjoying the opportunity that he has over there.

“He is playing with international stars in his team over there and obviously being coached by really good coaches. We are looking forward to him coming home and sharing the knowledge that he has gained from there.”

The Sharks, who aim to play their Last 8 match at Kings Park Stadium in Durban, will be hoping to secure a playoff spot on Saturday when they host Connacht of Ireland at 4.05pm.

“You don’t want to get into the plane under pressure to qualify. So Saturday will help a long way in seeing how far we could end up on the log. It’s a big game for us and a very important one,” Everitt said.

“Connacht are a difficult side to play against, as the Lions, Bulls and Stormers have found out. They have beaten all three and we know that they will be motivated to get one over and have a clean sweep over the SA teams.

“They are certainly a gutsy team and they’ve got good defence and they are good at holding on to the ball. One of their main attributes is the ability to attack the breakdown.

“We need to be squeaky clean as far as that’s concerned and make sure that we look after our own ball.”

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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