DURBAN – The Sharks’ recruitment of some of the country’s most talented youngsters continues with the arrival in the Shark Tank of former Western Province hooker Dan Jooste.
Jooste, a schoolboy star at Paarl Boys High, played SA Schools in 2016 and then two years for the SA Under-20 side. He made his Stormers debut last year at age 21 but did not play Super Rugby this year because of injury.
The Sharks’ depth at hooker has been compromised since the departure of Akker van der Merwe to Sale last year and the unavailability of Chiliboy Ralepelle because of a doping offence.
The Sharks brought back veteran Craig Burden as an interim measure but the 35-year-old is retiring at the end of this year; and then there has been further pressure on the position because of the recent injury in training to first-choice hooker Kieran van Vuuren, who is out long term following surgery to a pectoral muscle tear.
Coach Sean Everitt says they identified Jooste some time ago as a hooker the Sharks wanted in their system.
“With the departure of Chiliboy and Akker we were left with Kieran and two Under-21 hookers in Dylan Richardson, who also played openside flank for us as well as Fez Mbatha,” Everitt said.
“Fez hasn’t played rugby for the last 12 months because of injury, and as he is still an age group player we feel that he should get game time with the Unders-21s.
“Craig is finishing up at the end of the season and with Kieran out for a while, Dan will play a big role in the tournament that lies ahead.”
Everitt said he had been watching Jooste since he was at school.
“We rate him highly having followed his career for some time. The way forward at the Sharks is to get players that are not only good players but also good people, and he is certainly one of those,” Everitt added.
“He is an intelligent guy and at 22 already has a degree from Stellenbosch.”