While it was only the might of the Sunwolves they were up against, Sharks coach Robert du Preez certainly got out what he wanted from some of the fringe players he used during the weekend’s 50-22 at King’s Park.
He had wanted to see how his troops would respond to a rotation system and almost all of the new members delivered fine performances.
As the Durbanites embarked on their four-match tour of Australasia yesterday, there are definitely some food for thought regarding selection, particularly in the case of rookie flanker Wian Vosloo.
“Look, Wian was obviously the player that stood out,” said Du Preez.
“I though he played really well on debut.”
The 23-year-old was labelled as “abrasive” in the build-up to the game and he lived up to that reputation, completing an incredible 17 tackles, carrying the ball well and winning a turnover.
His performance once again underlined how much depth South African rugby can still claim to have at loose forward.
But there were others too that put their hands up, especially hooker Akker van der Merwe – who was pure dynamite in broken play – and No 8 Tera Mtembu, who recovered well from an early blow to the knee.
“There are going to be one or two selection headaches,” said Du Preez.
“I’ve said before it’s going to be important for us to embrace the bigger squad system. It was never going to be an easy game but I thought the purpose of rotating the players worked well at the weekend.”
The Sharks begin their tour in Canberra against the Brumbies on Saturday.