Friday, 12th January 2024

The Sharks Media Release
EPCR CHALLENGE CUP

Hollywoodbets Sharks vs. Oyonnax Rugby

Date: Saturday, 13th January 2024
Time: 15h00
Venue: Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Adam Leal (Eng)
Assistant Refs: Karl Dickson, John Meredith
TMO: Hamish Smales

The Hollywoodbets Sharks host Oyonnax Rugby at Hollywoodbets Kings Park in a round three EPCR Challenge clash on Saturday afternoon, looking to maintain a strong position in the tournament.

The Durban side is second on Pool 1 while the French team languish at the bottom with a 0 from two record in the competition to date and this match provides the opportunity for the Hollywoodbets Sharks to not only make their mark, but to deliver a rousing performance in front of the home fans.

Head coach John Plumtree has made just two changes to the starting line-up, both in the forwards where locks Corne’ Rahl and Eben Etzebeth swap jerseys, and loose forward Tino Mavesere replaces the hard-working James Venter who provides cover off the bench.

The backline remains identical to last week’s side.

Hollywoodbets Sharks wing Werner Kok admits that this game is an opportunity for his side to make a statement in the tournament and also reward the fans for their loyalty.

“We’re in a good space and ready for the week after the disappointment and hurt from a tough few weeks,” he explains. “We feel we’re at the point where the tide is going to turn.

“The EPCR Challenge Cup gives us the opportunity to get into a proper position to play in quarters, semis and finals and this is a competition we’re really going at. We’re working hard at getting to the play-offs and making a success of the tournament.”

Oyonnax come into this game having won less than half their fixtures in the French Top 14 and winless in the EPCR. However, their current form is not a sign that this is going to be a walk-over.

“I think it’s going to be a loose game,” Kok explains. “We all know about the French flair. All their teams like throwing the ball around and playing an expansive game.

“But we know it’s going to be hard, the French forwards are tough and physical, very good at maul time and we’re going to have to up our game in the physicality stakes.

“It’s going to be a good clash though, one we want to win to get to go top of the pool and hopefully a final at the end of the competition.”

Hollywoodbets Sharks
1. Ox Nche
2. Fez Mbatha
3. Hanro Jacobs
4. Corne Rahl
5. Gerbrandt Grobler
6. Tino Mavesere*
7. Lappies Labuschagne
8. Phepsi Buthelezi
9. Grant Williams
10. Curwin Bosch
11. Makazole Mapimpi
12. Francois Venter
13. Lukhanyo Am (c)
14. Werner Kok
15. Aphelele Fassi

Replacements
16. Kerron van Vuuren
17. Ntuthuko Mchunu
18. Khwezi Mona
19. Eben Etzebeth
20. James Venter
21. Jaden Hendrikse
22. Diego Appollis*
23. Eduan Keyter*

*Denotes a debut for the Hollywoodbets Sharks in an international competition.

Players not available for selection due to injury or suspension:
•    Aphiwe Dyantyi
•    Bongi Mbonambi
•    Coenie Oosthuizen
•    Daniel Jooste
•    Dylan Richardson
•    Emile van Heerden
•    George Cronje
•    Hyron Andrews
•    Nevaldo Fleurs
•    Reniel Hugo
•    Sikhumbuzo Notshe
•    Vincent Koch
•    Vincent Tshituka

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•    Web              www.sharksrugby.co.za
•    X                   @sharksrugby
•    Facebook      @sharksrugby
•    Instagram      @sharksrugby
•    Hashtags       #FeartheFin #EPCR #SHAvsONO

ENDS.

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