The Sharks are back to full strength for their tour to Australasia with the return of Akker van der Merwe, who has served his three-match suspension for his part in the altercation with fellow-Springbok hooker Schalk Brits at the end of March.
It will nevertheless be with a little trepidation that coach Robert du Preez will look to the tour. Last year the Sharks lost two of the three their matches on their Australasian tour when they went down to the Brumbies (17-24) and the Melbourne Rebels (14-46).
They beat the Blues, second last in last year’s competition, and in the play-off rounds went do10-40 to Crusaders in Christchurch.
In addition to the difficulty that South African sides experience on tours, the Sharks come off two poor home performances against the Jaguares and the Reds in their most recent matches.
The Sharks play the Waratahs on Saturday, who will be a confident unit this week after their win against the Melbourne Rebels last weekend following the fall-out they had to absorb during the past weeks because of the Israel Folau saga.
Then the Sharks move to New Zealand for a match against Crusaders the following Friday and play the Chiefs in their last match on the Saturday thereafter.
Prop Juan Schoeman was not considered for selection due to an MCL injury shortly after he came on as a replacement against the Reds last weekend, but the Sharks have their two Springbok three-quarters, wing Makazole Mapimpi and Lukhanyo Am, back for the tour.
Sharks squad –
Akker van der Merwe, Coenie Oosthuizen, Daniel du Preez, Hyron Andrews, Jacques Vermeulen, Jean-Luc du Preez, John-Hubert Meyer, Kerron van Vuuren, Luke Stringer, Mzamo Majola, Philip van der Walt, Ruan Botha, Ruben van Heerden, Beast Mtawarira, Thomas du Toit, Tyler Paul.
André Esterhuizen, Aphelele Fassi, Cameron Wright, Curwin Bosch, Kobus van Wyk Louis Schreuder (captain), Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, Marius Louw, Robert du Preez, Sibusiso Nkosi.