Sharks newfound success lies in power forward


The Sharks play on their home ground on Saturday in the quarter-final of the European Challenge Series against Edinburgh and the momentum train at least paid another visit to Durban.

John Plumtree’s troops crushed Zebre 47-3 at Kingspark last week and it was especially the home team’s forwards that made the Italian visitors chew hard bones.

A front row of Ox Nché, Bongi Mbonambi and Vincent Koch can certainly hang with the best in the world.

Needless to say, Plumtree will be hoping for a similar performance against the Scots, as the foundations for their recent victories have certainly been laid by the forwards.

Mbonambi and his mates will once again anchor the Sharks scrum, with Eben Etzebeth (SA Rugby’s player of the year) also in the starting fifteen.

“The players’ energy levels are high and men like Emile van Heerden, Eben Etzebeth and Vincent Koch make a big difference up front,” said the Springbok hacker.

According to Mbonambi, the road to a possible final will not be easy and Edinburgh will choose a strong team for the quarter-finals.

“We only concentrate on one game at a time and we want to give a better performance every time we run on the field.”

The match starts at 1.30pm on Saturday and it will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

Sharks: Aphelele Fassi (full back), Werner Kok (right wing), Lukhanyo Am (outside center and captain), Ethan Hooker (inside centre), Makazole Mapimpi (left wing), Siya Masuku (fly-half), Jaden Hendrikse (scrum-half), Phepsi Buthelezi (eighth man), Vincent Thsituka (flank), James Venter (flank), Emile van Heerden (lock), Eben Etzebeth (lock), Vincent Koch (prop), Bongi Mbonambi (hook) and Ox Nché (prop). Substitutes: Dan Jooste, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Hanro Jacobs, Corne Rahl, Jeandré Labuschagne, Grant Williams, Curwin Bosch and Francois Venter.