Fassi on the bench as Sharks name Toyota Challenge matchday squad

The Sharks travel to Bloemfontein to play the Free State Cheetahs in a newly arranged competition, the Toyota Challenge.

The exhibition event sees the home side welcoming the likes of the Sharks, Western Province, Diables Barcelona from Spain and Baia Mare from Romania to Toyota Stadium.

The Cheetahs have already played two matches in the competition, beating Diables 99-15 and narrowly going down to Western Province 31-30.

Head coach Sean Everitt has mixed it up by naming three new players to the Sharks alongside many familiar faces and a few of the younger members of the squad getting a run during this extended break from the United Rugby Championship.

Mandatory Credit: Photo: Simon King/ProSports/Shutterstock/BackpagePix

With URC action returning next weekend, this is the ideal opportunity to keep squad depth active and game-ready.

Samoan international flank OJ Noa will start this match alongside fellow Samoan Ben Tapuia who has represented Australia, with replacement prop, 22-year-old Dian Bleuler, newly signed from Western Province. The SA Under 20 player made his senior debut this year and will add depth to the Cell C Sharks’ front row.

Ben Tapuia is well known in Australian circles, spending six years with the Reds and a further season with the Western Force during which time he made seven appearances for the Wallabies before playing in the UK at Bath Rugby and Harlequins.

OJ Noa has two Test caps to his name and will no doubt look to impose his 1.94m tall and 112kg frame on the opposition.

There is also good news on the return of a Sharks favourite in Aphelele Fassi. The Springbok has been released from national duty and Everitt has named him in the matchday 23.

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Saturday’s match kicks off at 14:00.

Sharks team

1. Khwezi Mona

2. Kerron van Vuuren

3. Khutha Mchunu

4. Le Roux Roets

5. Hyron Andrews

6. James Venter

7. OJ Noa

8. Henco Venter (c)

9. Ruan Pienaar

10. Boeta Chamberlain

11. Anthony Volmink

12. Ben Tapuai

13. Marnus Potgieter

14. Werner Kok

15. Rynhardt Jonker

Replacements

16. Dan Jooste

17. Dian Bleuler

18. Lourens Adriaanse

19. Reniel Hugo

20. Phepsi Buthelezi

21. Sanele Nohamba

22. Jeremy Ward

23. Aphelele Fassi

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