Mark McCall names strong Saracens side to face Sharks
14:32 08 January 2014
2009 Getty Images
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall is hoping his side’s historic one-off clash against Sharks at Allianz Park this month can rival their Titanic tussle with South Africa in 2009.
The Sanlam Private Investments Shield on January 25 will pit the current Premiership leaders against the Currie Cup Champions and the Hendon outfit have have named a powerful 23-man squad for the visit of the Springbok franchise.
It follows four years on from a memorable match at Wembley Stadium four years ago when Sarries came from 18-6 down to beat then reigning world champions South Africa, who were on a European tour.
While that was a club versus country affair, this match, which will conclude the Sharks’ pre-season campaign, pits a powerhouse of Southern hemisphere rugby against one of the best sides in the northern hemisphere.
McCall said: “Our match against the Springboks four years ago was one of the greatest occasions in the club’s history, and this will be a similar kind of one-off event… the Premiership leaders against South Africa’s Currie Cup champions. We will field our strongest possible side.”
Bismarck du Plessis, who is among 12 Springboks named in the Sharks squad, said: “It’s a special challenge for us.
“Saracens have developed into a really strong team, and their recent success has been keenly followed in South Africa. They will present very tough opposition as we prepare for the Super XV, and we’re excited to play on the artificial turf pitch at Allianz Park.”
Jake White will be guiding the Sharks for the first time and the former World Cup-winning coach said: “Playing Saracens on the artificial turf at Allianz Park is just about the toughest match we could have organised as we conclude our preparations for the new season, but we are excited by the challenge.
“Saracens have been one of the most consistently successful clubs in Europe over the past few years and, with their close SA connections both on the field and in the boardroom, they are followed and supported by almost everybody associated with South African rugby.”
Daniel Kriel, CEO of Sanlam Private Investments, said: “We are delighted to support this rare clash between the current Premiership leaders and the reigning Currie Cup champions. It will be a fantastic rugby event on so many levels – England versus South Africa, Heineken Cup against Super XV, north versus south.”
Saracens squad to face the Sharks:
Chris Wyles, David Strettle, Michael Tagicakibau, Marcelo Bosch, Brad Barritt, Duncan Taylor, Sam Stanley, Charlie Hodgson, Neil de Kock, Richard Wigglesworth
Richard Barrington, Nick Auterac, Schalk Brits, Jamie George, Matt Stevens, Petrus Du Plessis, Steve Borthwick (c), Alistair Hargreaves, Mouritz Botha, Jacques Burger, Nick Fenton-Wells, Justin Melck, Ernst Joubert
Sharks squad to play Saracens:
Lourens Adriaanse, Willem Alberts, Dale Chadwick, Marcell Coetzee, Kyle Cooper, Jean Deysel, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Pieter Stephanus du Toit, Adriaan Esterhuizen, Tyler Fisher, Paul Jordaan, Ryan Kankowski, Peet Marais, Charl McLeod, Tendai Mtawarira, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndugane, Etienne Oosthuizen, Jacobus Reinach, Francois Steyn, Timothy Swiel, Jaco van Tonder, Heimar Williams, Frederik Zeilinga.