#SuperRugby Profile: Sharks

Like most South African teams after a World Cup year, the Sharks will have a new look to it.

Picture: Sharks website.

CAPE TOWN - Carl Lewis previews the South African franchises ahead of the expanded Super Rugby competition.

COACH

Gary Gold

CAPTAIN

Marcell Coetzee

OVERVIEW

Like most South African teams after a World Cup year the Sharks will have a new look to it. A number of experienced campaigners have left the union including the Du Plessis' (Jannie and Bismarck) brothers, Frans Steyn and Pieter Steph Du Toit to the Stormers.

The Durban franchise will look to start a fresh after a disappointing 2015 in both Super Rugby and the Currie Cup which saw the departure of coach Brad Mcleod Henderson.

Director of Rugby Gary Gold will know it is a big season for him personally as 2015 did not justify his coaching pedigree. Gold has added a four man-coaching panel for Super Rugby and to hopefully take the Sharks into a new era.

The Sharks were dealt a hammer blow when Pat Lambie was ruled out for a large part of the tournament however the Sharks will still feel they can grasp one of the three play-offs spots available to them this season.

They will feel the new additions of Coenie Ooshuizen, Willie Le Roux and bruising flanker Jaques Potgieter will give them some added quality of a number of departures.

LAST YEAR

Finished 11th on the table overall.

PROSPECTS

Nothing less than a playoff berth will do for the Durban based outfit.

TALKING POINTS

• Bismarck Du Plessis's departure leaves a massive hole at hooker, can Chilliboy Rallepelle fill that enormous void?

• The impact of Willie Le Roux is certainly something to keep your eye on

• Will Coenie Ossthuizen play tighthead where he has experienced mixed degree of success?

• Exciting Centres Paul Jordaan and Andre Esterhuizen could make for a powerful and explosive midfield

• Sharks enjoyed success in the preseason tour of France bagging wins against Toulon and Toulouse

• Brothers Jean Luc and Daniel Du Preez are two exciting losse forwards coming through at the Sharks

KEY PLAYER

Marcell Coetzee will play his last season before going to Ulster, the Sharks stalwart will no doubt want to end off with a bang and leave his union in good shape. The all action flank with have the captain the side in Lambie's absence.

ONE TO WATCH

Garth April has got many people excited about the prospect of him standing in for Lambie. April scored an impressive 21 points to lead the Sharks to victory against Toulouse. April will be up against the consistent performer Joe Pietersen for the number 10 jersey but might edge the veteran with his performance on the French tour.

SHARKS SCHEDULE

27 February: Kings (a)

5 March: Jaguars (h)

12 March: Stormers (a)

18 March: Bulls (a)

26 March: Crusaders (h)

1-3 April: BYE

9 April: Lions (h)

16 April: Blues (a)

22 April: Highlanders (a)

29 April: Chiefs (a)

7 May: Hurricanes (h)

14 May: Jaguars (a)

21 May: Kings (h)

27-29 May: BYE

Break - Test Rugby

2 July: Lions (a)

9 July: Cheetahs (h)

15 July: Sunwolves (h)