Durban – The Sharks have named Aphelele Fassi at fullback for the Super Rugby opener against the Sunwolves in Singapore on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 12:55 SA time.
The 21-year-old is the only debutant in the starting line-up but there are another three on the bench in the form of Kerron van Vuuren, Khutha Mchunu and Phendulani Buthelezi.
Coach Robert du Preez has selected his strongest possible side given that he has a handful of players unavailable due to injury, but there is also a youthful feel to the side.
The Sharks coach confirmed that although Curwin Bosch has been starting at flyhalf in the pre-season warm-up matches and the plan was to continue playing him there for this match, he was unavailable to tour.
“Rob du Preez was being managed after playing overseas but with the injury in the Bulls game to Curwin Bosch, Rob will start at flyhalf,” the coach explained.
Other than that, there are no surprises in the team named to front up to the Sunwolves. Louis Schreuder, who missed last Saturday’s game due to illness, has returned and will lead the side on Saturday.
“All the youngsters are very excited. They bring a lot of energy, they put a lot of pressure on the guys who have been around a while, so that competition is very healthy,” said Du Preez.
“I am sure every one of those players, when given the opportunity, will make the step up.”
15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Phendulani Buthelezi, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Rhyno Smith, 23 Jeremy Ward