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Eben Etzebeth returns to Sharks XV after surgery

By Josh Raisey
Eben Etzebeth back with the Sharks in Durban

Eben Etzebeth is set to play his first game in over two months when he starts against Ulster at Kings Park on Saturday in the United Rugby Championship.


The double World Cup winning lock last played in January in a 20-18 South African derby loss to the Lions, with Sharks head coach John Plumtree confirming in February that he had undergone surgery for a knee injury.

Speaking ahead of his comeback, the recently crowned SA Rugby player of the year said this is the strongest team the Sharks have put out this season.

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Nigel Owens about the state of South African refereeing

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Nigel Owens about the state of South African refereeing

“We haven’t had a good season so far and no excuses, we need to take a hard look at ourselves as individuals and as a collective,” he said.

“Somehow we haven’t been executing our plans and that’s disappointing, but we’ll be looking to rectify that over the remainder of the season and make the last part of it a successful one.

United Rugby Championship
22 - 12
All Stats and Data

“We’re looking to end strong, there’s always a sense of pride when we wear the Hollywoodbets Sharks jersey and win games and that motivates the guys to not give up, but to make it difficult for the teams coming to Durban.

“As a collective, this was probably the strongest 23 we could have picked for this game so far this season and it’s a big boost having guys like [himself and] Bongi and Vincent Koch back.”


The Sharks sit at the bottom of the URC table with only one win this season. While they remain in the Challenge Cup, their hopes of achieving anything in the league this campaign are already over.

However, the Springbok said the aim now is to build confidence ahead of next season, and that will come by upping the physicality. If ever a team wants to up their physicality, Etzebeth is probably the best player on Earth to call upon.

“We as a Sharks team must get our confidence right for next season and finish this season on a high. Hopefully we can produce a great performance on Saturday.

“We need to step up in the physicality department, we haven’t had a great set-piece this year and we as South Africans love that battle, but I just feel at the moment we’re letting ourselves down and letting the supporters down with what we’ve produced.


“The plan is to be a lot more physical on the field this weekend.”

Sharks XV
1. Ntuthuko Mchunu
2. Bongi Mbonambi
3. Hanro Jacobs
4. Eben Etzebeth
5. Gerbrandt Grobler
6. Phepsi Buthelezi
7. Vincent Tshituka
8. George Cronje
9. Jaden Hendrikse
10. Siya Masuku
11. Makazole Mapimpi
12. Ethan Hooker
13. Lukhanyo Am (C)
14. Eduan Keyter
15. Aphelele Fassi

16. Kerron van Vuuren
17. Ox Nche
18. Vincent Koch
19. Corne Rahl
20. Jeandre Labuschagne
21. Cameron Wright
22. Curwin Bosch
23. Francois Venter



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