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News24.com | Sean Everitt cock-a-hoop about Sharks spring chickens

Sharks lock JJ van der Mescht.

Sharks lock JJ van der Mescht.

(Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

  • Sharks head coach Sean Everitt was cock-a-hoop about his
    spring chickens that produced the goods against a plucky Griquas side in
    Durban.
  • Murray Koster earned his debut start while Khuthuzani Mchunu
    made his first senior appearance off the bench.
  • Young enforcer JJ van der Mescht was the focal point of the
    Sharks ball-carries, a role he’ll grow further into.

Sharks head coach Sean Everitt was cock-a-hoop about his
spring chickens, who produced the goods against a plucky Griquas side in Durban
on Sunday.

Everitt notably rested majority of his regular starters that
took them to the Currie Cup final, including overhauling the front row as well
as giving Murray Koster his debut start and Khuthuzani Mchunu his first senior
appearance off the bench.

Although he has played a chunk of minutes, former SA
Under-20 star JJ van der Mescht became the focal point of their ball-carrying,
a role the 21-year-old will assume some more as he grows.

“I’m very happy for the youngsters,” said Everitt
after the 35-10 victory.

“They only had two full days’ preparation and I thought
the intent to play with ball in hand tonight was there.

“The weather allowed it and that’s the route we wanted
to go. But we did turn over a lot of ball, and if we were playing better teams
they would have punished us.

“But I was very happy with the positivity shown and the
energy after being on a three-week break.

“Ntuthuko Mchunu is a convert [from eighthman] and it
was his first senior game at prop.

“He came on and won us a scrum penalty, so I thought he
was outstanding in the energy that he displayed, not only in the scrum but in
the ball-carries and defence.

“There was also a good performance from Murray Koster,
who made his debut tonight and young Thaakir Abrahams who came on and scored a
nice try.”

The Sharks scored five tries in their opening preparation
series match but it took them a while to get into gear on their home patch.

Griquas held them scoreless for almost the entire first half
before Anthony Volmink broke the shackles in the 38th minute.

But after Griquas scrumhalf and former Sharks boyhood
product Stefan Ungerer was sin-binned in the 56th minute the Sharks
ran riot.

Manie Libbok and Aphelele Fassi, who had threatened all
evening, put their feet on the visitors’ throats with some dazzling attacking
displays.

Fassie took full advantage with a score for himself but so
did Abrahams, replacement No 10 Jordan Chait and Volmink late on.

Everitt expects the youngsters to grow through the
preparation matches. However, he also acknowledged that the fight for playing
minutes will be fierce when the regulars return.

“On the whole we are happy with the performance and
this team will grow,” he said.

“We know if a team stays together for a period of time
they will only get better.

“They would all have liked more opportunities in the Currie
Cup. And when they got it, you could see why they were so energised on the
field.

“They are now fighting for positions for the latter
part of this preparation cup. Competition is going to be fierce when we start
selecting our better team at the end.”

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