Bok skipper Siya Kolisi inks new five-year deal with the Sharks
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi has signed a new contract with the Sharks, the franchise has confirmed.
Kolisi, who is in Ireland with the Sharks, signed a new five-year deal that will keep him in Durban until 2027.
He moved to the Sharks from Western Province at the beginning of 2021 and his initial contract was apparently going to expire soon.
The Sharks will be hoping for a happy return to Ireland this weekend where they are playing Ulster in their final game of the United Rugby Championship (URC) round-robin phase in Belfast on Friday (8.35pm, SA time).
The last time the Sharks travelled to Ireland on URC business it turned out not to be a good trip for the Durbanites. The Sharks kicked off their URC campaign against Munster and Sean Everitt’s men lost by 42-17.
But Everitt is confident things will be different this time. In their first trip the Sharks missed at least nine of their regular starters who were with the Springboks.
“All SA teams struggled at the beginning of the tournament, but it’s a different [Sharks] team than it was then,” Everitt said on Thursday.
“It took us a while to build cohesion and I think we have come on nicely as a group. We are now playing an all-round game of rugby mixed with tight kicking and some really good defence.
“This group is really tight as they have spent more time together and having the fortune of being able to pick pretty much the same 23 every week has certainly helped with the cohesion of the group.
“And we are also pleased that we are scoring tries. We have scored 57 in the tournament so far. We are happy with where we are.”
There’s quite a lot riding on the match for both teams who have already qualified for the URC playoffs.
Both sides are looking to secure a home quarterfinal spot while the Sharks still have a good chance to finish second on the overall log table. Ulster are fifth on the log table with 55 points while the Sharks are third on 56 points.
Everitt believes they have a good build-up to the clash away from home with four back-to-back victories they achieved in Durban.
“We got better with each game we played and obviously the last four games have given us momentum coming into this game, which is probably one of the crucial games of the competition.
“The guys have had a good week and we know we have to stand up to the physical challenge that Ulster are going to bring to us and bring to the table. But the guys are fully aware of what is expected from them.”
The Sharks also welcome back Boks centre Lukhanyo Am after his stint playing in Japan. Am joined the team in Belfast and will start the match.
“He is a key member of our team and we missed him while he was away. It’s not just what he brings on the rugby field, it’s also what he brings off the field. He is a popular guy in the team.
“We were excited to see him here in Belfast when he arrived. He has fitted in seamlessly and he is a quality player. He trained really well with us this week.”
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