Injured Mavesere named in Sharks’ Vodacom United Rugby Championship squad

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Tinotenda Blithe Mavesere

Zimbabwe rugby international Tinotenda Blithe Mavesere has been named in Sharks’ 50-man squad for the 2022-2023 Vodacom United Rugby Championship campaign but has been ruled out of the initial phase of the campaign, as he continues his recovery from a long-term injury.

Sharks head coach Sean Everitt on Monday confirmed the touring squad and a larger 50-man squad for the season.

Springbok tighthead prop Thomas du Toit will continue to captain the side as they embark on their second foray into this illustrious inter-continental tournament, which features teams from South Africa, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy.

Despite being named in the Sharks’ 50-man Vodacom United Rugby Championship squad, Mavesere is set to miss the early part of the season which include openers against Zebre, Dragons and Leinster.

The 23-year-old Sables lose forward together with lock Le Roux Roets are recovering from knee ligament injuries.

Also missing from the Sharks’ touring squad are injured flyhalves Curwin Bosch and Lionel Cronje, prompting them to give Fred Zeilinga a recall.

The Sharks will also be without star signing Vincent Tshituka due to injury, while injured loose forwards Henco Venter, Mpilo Gumede, Jeandre Labuschagne in addition to the duo of Mavesere and lock Roets have also not travelled with the team.

Mavesere is yet to feature for Sharks in a competitive encounter since signing a two-year contract with the Durban-based outfit in January last year but will be confident of finally making his debut this season.

The ex-Churchill High School progidy, who is nicknamed “Driller”, is widely regarded as one of Zimbabwe’s brightest prospects in South African rugby.

After his breakthrough campaign during Zimbabwe’s debut season in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge in 2019, Mavesere went on to enjoy a memorable season with the University of Western Cape (UWC) in the 2021 Varsity Cup campaign.

His superb exploits saw him being named “Forward that Rocks” at the end of the Varsity Cup season where he also finished as runner up for the overall Player of the Tournament award.

Meanwhile, the Sharks will kickstart their season on Friday evening when they take on Italian outfit Zebre at Stadio Lanfranchi before heading off to Wales and Ireland for matches against the Dragons and Leinster respectively.

The South African side will play their first home game at Hollywoodbets Kings Park on October 15, when they welcome the Glasgow Warriors to Durban.

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