Bosch, Notshe and Richardson return for Sharks

rugby17 May 2024 09:35
By:Gavin Rich
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Sikhumbuzo Notshe © Gallo Images

The Hollywoodbets Sharks team to play Cardiff in their penultimate Vodacom United Rugby Championship engagement of the season in Durban reads like a who’s who of players who’ve been sidelined recently been injured and players we had forgotten or even unaware were on the franchise’s books.

Dylan Richardson, who ranks among the category relating to players who have been injured, is one of the most pleasing names to see on a team sheet that is reflective of how difficult it is to balance commitments to two competitions this late in the season.

Young lock Corne Rahl is the only player facing Cardiff who was part of the starting team that played in the URC loss to Benetton in last week’s game at Hollywoodbets Kings Park as head coach John Plumtree has sent an advance guard to London to prepare for next Friday’s EPCR Challenge Cup final.

With a place in next season’s Investec Champions Cup on the line for the winner of the secondary European cup competition, that is an understandable approach to take.

Not only does it safeguard against the injuries that began to mount after the 25-24 defeat a week ago, it also has the positive outcome of showcasing and testing the Sharks’ depth and giving opportunities to players on the outside looking in.

Sikhumbuzo Notshe’s return at No 8 after a lengthy absence is another one to rival Scotland international Richardson’s return at hooker (he also of course is a pretty useful openside flank), while Curwin Bosch returns from a couple of weeks on the sidelines by being one of the backline reserves.

Given that the Sharks have potential midfield problems ahead of next week’s final, with Murray Koster having been suspended for five weeks for his red card last week and Lukhanyo Am, Ethan Hooker and Francois Venter all carrying injuries last weekend, the selection of Eduan Keyter at inside centre is also interesting.

Until he was injured, Keyter impressed on the wing. The former Griquas wing and Affies schoolboy star is a strongly built player who is a forceful runner and looks a potentially good South African style fit at No 12.

Keyter is partnered in this game by former Mpumalanga Pumas centre Diego Appoli.


Former Springbok wing Aphiwe Dyantyi, who we did know about, comes back on the wing, but Yaw Penxe, who many might have forgotten about even though he is a pacy player with good finishing ability, makes a reappearance on the other wing.

Then there’s the product of the Cape Overberg town of Bredasdorp, Anthony Volmink. Remember him?

He’s had some good X-factor moments for the Sharks in the past, as well as Griquas, the Cheetahs and the Emirates Lions before that. At 34 you wouldn’t call him a player for the future, but he can do a job.

Volmink isn’t starting against Cardiff but joins Bosch as one of the backline reserves in a match day squad that is being captained by another player we hadn’t seen in a while and might have forgotten about, Reniel Hugo.

Experienced veteran journeyman Lionel Cronje, who is probably a better alternative to first choice Siya Masuku than Bosch given his willingness to play nearer the gainline, will be wearing the No 10 jersey, while there is an interesting debutant playing on the flank, Simon Miller.

The lock-cum-flank was schooled at St Albans College in Johannesburg but made his name playing for Stellenbosch in the Varsity Cup and has played Currie Cup rugby for Western Province and the Stormers.

The talented youngster had his way to becoming a regular at the Stormers blocked by the high quality loose-forward resource base in that region - think Ben-Jason Dixon and company - and has moved down to Durban with a minimum of fanfare.

He could become an important player for the Sharks in time.

It is an interesting team and not one without plenty of talent - the only disadvantage is that it has not played together before and the Cardiff team has.

HOLLYWOODBETS SHARKS TEAM: Boeta Chamberlain, Yaw Penxe, Diego Appolis, Eduan Keyter, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Lionel Cronje, Tiaan Fourie, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Simon Miller, Tino Mavesere, Reniel Hugo (captain), Corne Rahl, Khwezi Mona, Dylan Richardson, Dian Bleuler.

Replacements: Dan Jooste, Braam Reyneke, IG Prinsloo, Thomas Dyer, Nick Hatton, Bradley Davids, Curwin Bosch, Anthony Volmink.