Bosch, Cronje out of squad as Sharks line up URC kickoff against Zebre
The Sharks will be without injured flyhalves Curwin Bosch and Lionel Cronje when they kick off their United Rugby Championship (URC) campaign against Zebre in Italy on Friday.
Sharks head coach Sean Everitt has named a 28-man touring squad for matches against Zebre, the Dragons and Leinster in Europe. The squad will be led by Springbok prop Thomas du Toit.
Everitt is expecting big things from his team this season, who will play under their new slogan, “Fear the Fin”.
With a shortage of pivots, 29-year-old Fred Zeilinga has been recalled for three tough games on the road. The dependable flyhalf started his professional career at the Sharks and played in Durban until 2015, before linking up with the Cheetahs and Japan’s Canon Eagles. He played for the Lions in last season’s inaugural URC.
Tighthead prop Carlu Sadie, lock Justin Basson and inside centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg could make their Sharks debuts after being included in the touring squad.
Ahead of the new season, the Sharks have embarked on a new and exciting era under MVM Holdings’ ownership.
Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee said: “Reigniting the passion for the brand among our loyal support base, not just in SA but globally, is the driving force behind the rebrand as we broaden our reach and attract new markets internationally.
“The positive changes we have undergone since the global pandemic will be used as a catalyst to successfully reposition our brand as an internationally revered rugby brand underpinned by a culture of inclusivity.
“Our much-loved mascot Sharkie has been at the coalface of fan engagement since the 1990s, when he emerged as a fun-loving character that embodied the Sharks’ identity as a family brand.
“Sharkie remains iconic and while we don’t want to fix what is not broken, there was a need to adapt the Sharks logo.
“The Sharkie logo has been tweaked slightly and has undergone some refinements, while retaining the essence of what Sharkie is all about.
“The changes include the placement of his dorsal fin higher up his back to make him more menacing and dangerous, much like the team he represents. The placement of his fin brings focus to his ferocity.
“We have proudly embraced our roots of being a warrior nation by framing Sharkie within a shield.
“This symbolises the honour and pride associated with the badge as we carry our heritage as an integral part of the global rugby community.
“The location of Durban has also been added to the logo, as it creates a sense of home identity for the team.
“Our new slogan, ‘Fear the Fin’, was created to ensure it stays within the brand’s theme and portrays us as fierce east coast predators and is meaningful to our fans, who are encouraged to chant this slogan at our matches.”
Sharks touring squad
Forwards: Daniel Jooste, Fezokuhle Mbatha, Kerron van Vuuren, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Dian Bleuler, Thomas du Toit (capt), Hanro Jacobs, Carlu Sadie, Daniel Hugo, Justin Basson, Hyron Andrews, Gerbrandt Grobler, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Phendulani Buthelezi, Dylan Richardson, James Venter
Backs: Grant Williams, Cameron Wright, Zee Mkhabela, Boeta Chamberlain, Ben Tapuai, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Marnus Potgieter, Werner Kok, Thaakir Abrahams, Anthony Volmink, Aphelele Fassi, Fred Zeilinga
Players not considered because of injury: Curwin Bosch, Eduan Keyter, Henco Venter, Jeandre Labuschagne, Khutha Mchunu, Le Roux Roets, Lionel Cronje, Mpilo Gumede, Murray Koster, Tinotenda Mavesere, Vincent Tshituka