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Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

Andrews debuts as Beast leads Sharks



Young lock Hyron Andrews has been offered an opportunity to play himself into reckoning for a more permanent place in the Cell C Sharks team during the coming Vodacom Super Rugby season as he lots into the second row for the opening competition match against the Southern Kings on Saturday.

Sharks director of rugby Gary Gold faces a mini-crisis in the second due to departures and injuries. Ruan Botha was ruled out for 10 weeks after sustaining an injury during the pre-season tour of France, while Stefan Lewies, who Gold was hoping to rush back into action against the Kings after a long time on the sidelines, is not quite ready to play yet.

Andrews, who is just 20 years old, will join Etienne Oosthuizen, who often plays on the blindside flank, in the Sharks’ second row for the match at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. A member of last year’s South African under-20 team that contested the Junior World Rugby Championships, this will be Andrews’ first taste of the big time.

He played for the Sharks XV in last year’s Vodacom Cup but did not play in the Currie Cup. Coach Gold clearly has a lot of faith in his promise, as he has left the more experienced Dave McDuling, the Australian recruited from the Reds last year, on the bench.

Andrews is among a clutch of players making their Super Rugby debuts for the Sharks, among them former Cheetahs Bok fullback Willie le Roux, former Stormers and Cheetahs fullback Joe Pietersen, the two Du Preez brothers, Jean-Luc and Daniel, and another former Cheetahs player in the form of tighthead prop Coenie Oosthuizen.

Pietersen is a surprise selection at flyhalf as Gold had appeared to indicate earlier in the week that rookie Garth April would be wearing the No 10. Instead April is on the bench covering both pivot and fullback.

Springbok loosehead prop Beast Mtawarira is the surprise selection as team captain in the absence of Patrick Lambie. It was thought that Marcell Coetzee, who led the Sharks to victory against Toulouse recently, would lead the side. Coetzee is included at openside flank.

Cell C Sharks team: Willie le Roux, Odwa Ndungane, Paul Jordaan, Andre Esterhuizen, Lwazi Mvovo, Joe Pietersen, Cobus Reinach, Daniel du Preez, Jean-Luc du Preez, Marcell Coetzee, Hyron Andrews, Etienne Oosthuizen, Coenie Oosthuizen, Franco Marais, Tendai Mtawarira (captain). Replacements: Kyle Cooper, Juan Schoeman, Lourens Adriaanse, Dave McDuling, Philip van der Walt, Michael Claassens, Garth April, S’bura Sithole.



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