Sharks change entire starting team for Glasgow match

rugby18 April 2024 12:43| © SuperSport
By:Gavin Rich
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Grant Williams © Gallo Images

As anticipated Hollywoodbets Sharks coach John Plumtree has rung the changes to his team for Friday night’s Vodacom United Rugby clash with second placed Glasgow Warriors at the Scotstoun.

Actually, he’s gone further than just making wholesale changes, he’s changed his entire starting team, with 15 changes made to the side that last weekend beat Edinburgh to advance to the EPCR Challenge Cup semifinal.

That knockout game against Clermont-Auvergne at The Stoop in London has become of prime importance for the Sharks as the Challenge Cup is their only route into next season’s elite Investec Champions Cup.

With that in mind, Plumtree has decided to rest his top team, with most of the players having played four back-to-back games after the Sharks started a winning run by beating Ulster in a URC game on 23 March.

The Sharks will be overseas until the semifinal and play the Scarlets in Llanelli next weekend, with Plumtree expected to return to his top team in that game as a warmup for the semifinal.

Most of the players in a new look Sharks team described as “exciting” in a team announcement press release have played for the Sharks, the exception being No 8 Nick Hatton, who will be making his debut for the franchise.

Assistant coach Dave Williams said during the week that while players would be rested the same expectation of performance would be in place for this game as the Sharks don’t want to lose too much of the momentum they have gained with their four consecutive wins.


Certainly on the face of it the Sharks side has the potential to put up a fight on Friday although a win would appear highly unlikely.

Scrumhalf Grant Williams and Vincent Koch are the only current Boks in the match day 23. Koch plays off the bench and it makes sense that he plays as he only recently returned from injury.

The bench is a strong one as it features the likes of Vincent Tshituka and the exciting young centre Ethan Hooker, while Siya Masuku, who has done well as the starting flyhalf, is rotated with Curwin Bosch this week.

Williams makes his first start in a while after returning to the match day squad as a reserve in last week’s Challenge Cup quarterfinal.

The side will be captained by Francois Venter and features Boeta Chamberlain at fullback, while right wing Eduan Keyter, the former Griquas player, impressed in the games he played for the Sharks before he missed out through injury.

Former Emirates Lions Springbok Aphiwe Dyanti is on the other wing as he continues his comeback after four years away from rugby.

Even though the Sharks will be without top Boks Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi and Eben Etzebeth, the Sharks still have some beef in the forwards, with the promising Corne Rahl getting a start alongside Gerbrandt Grobler in the second row and Lappies Labuschagne at blindside flank.

Nthuthuko Mchunu and Hanro Jacobs have impressed when they’ve started in the front row and will welcome this opportunity to be in the run-on team.

TEAM: Boeta Chamberlain, Eduan Keyter, Murray Koster, Francois Venter (captain), Aphiwe Dyantyi, Curwin Bosch, Grant Williams, Nick Hatton, Lappies Labuschagne, Tino Mavesere, Gerbrandt Grobler, Corne Rahl, Hanro Jacobs, Dan Jooste, Ntuthuko Mchunu.

Replacements: Fez Mbatha, Khwezi Mona, Vincent Koch, Emile van Heerden, Vincent Tshituka, Cameron Wright, Siya Masuku, Ethan Hooker.