Match Preview | Sharks
For the first time since 2017, Glasgow Warriors will take to the field against an opponent never previously faced by the club, as Danny Wilson’s men welcome the CellC Sharks to Scotstoun.
The Durban-based outfit are the first of the four new South African franchises to pit themselves against Scottish opposition this season, with the quartet of having previously plied their trade in Super Rugby prior to making the inception of the United Rugby Championship.
Whilst the Sharks – led by Head Coach Sean Everitt and captain Phepsi Bhutulezi – endured a tough introduction to northern hemisphere rugby in last weekend’s defeat by Munster at Thomond Park, there will be no underestimating the four-time Super Rugby runners-up by any of the Warriors this weekend.
So what should you know about Glasgow’s newest opponents?
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As mentioned earlier, Saturday’s clash will be the first meeting in professional history between Glasgow Warriors and the Sharks; however, a few Warriors have previous against the men from Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Glasgow loose-head Oli Kebble made three appearances against the Sharks during his time at the Stormers, with back-rower Jack Dempsey doing likewise in his spell with the Waratahs.
Whilst they will miss this weekend’s clash due to international commitments, Argentinian trio Enrique Pieretto, Domingo Miotti and Sebastian Cancelliere have also crossed paths with the Sharks in previous seasons, having taken on the South African side during their time with the Jaguares.
Ones to watch
He might still only be 22, but handing the captain’s armband to Bhutulezi underlines just how highly the back-rower is rated by the Sharks management. A powerful ball-carrier and a former South African U20 international, the former Durban High School pupil is able to learn from no less a mentor than South African skipper Siya Kolisi in the Sharks back-row.
Equally capable at fly-half as he is at full-back, Curwin Bosch provides a triple-threat wherever he lines up for the Sharks. In possession of a rocket of a boot, the 24-year-old also holds a deceptive turn of pace and an excellent distribution game, the combination of which has made him a crucial cog in Head Coach Everitt’s machine.
Werner Kok caught the eye during the Sharks’ meetings with the British and Irish Lions over the summer, and not just because of his distinctive blond hair. A gold medallist at Glasgow 2014 with South African in 7s, the centre brings a powerful running game to the Sharks midfield and knows his way to the try-line.
The 46 players selected for Saturday’s match will be hoping to create their own pieces of history at Scotstoun, but one figure in Scottish Rugby will have a particular interest in events on the field this weekend.
Prior to taking his first steps into coaching and subsequently leading Glasgow Warriors to the 2015 Guinness PRO12 title, current Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend enjoyed a brief stint at the Sharks as a player back in 2004.
The fly-half/centre turned out on seven occasions for the Kings Park outfit, crossing for his only try for the franchise in a 48-14 defeat to the Waratahs.
For the second week in succession, Ben Whitehouse will be the referee officiating Glasgow Warriors as the Welshman takes charge of his 76th match in the competition.
Finlay Brown and Dunx McCement will be his assistants, along with Ian Davies as the Television Match Official.
How to follow the match
If you can’t make it to Scotstoun, the match is live on Premier Sports 1, with kick-off scheduled for 3.05pm.
You can also follow all the updates and action as it happens in our Live Match Centre on glasgowwarriors.org – head over approximately an hour before kick-off for build-up.