Sharks coach John Plumtree believes the new era of Sharks rugby starts this weekend under new skipper Keegan Daniel with a batch of fresh faces following him into battle.
Following the departure of veteran leaders John Smit and Stefan Terblanche the Sharks will look to Daniel and Bismarck du Plessis for guidance this season.
Plumtree expects any number of new players to stick their hands up this season following the exodus of experienced stars following the World Cup last year.
"There are a lot of players in Super Rugby this year with a point to prove, it looks like that in Cape Town, in Pretoria and here in Durban," Plumtree told the media.
"There is a change, a new page in SA rugby in a lot of ways, with a lot of experienced players leaving, we will see new young players given the opportunity to shine. That's exciting for them, for the competition and for the spectators who will see some new faces they haven't seen before."
With all the pre-season work now behind them, the Sharks are ready to sink their teeth into some Super Rugby action.
"We're looking forward to the season, it comes to a point when all the work is done and the players can look forward to a game at the highest level," the coach added.
"The mood at training is mirroring that, the boys are a bit grumpy and now just want to get out there, we're all looking forward to it."
The New Zealand-born coach expects all his new starlets to live up to the lofty expectations of the Durban faithful, as the names have changed, but the traditions of the team remain the same.
"If you look at our camp, you can see players groomed by those senior players who have left, the talk is similar because they've heard it in the past, but the traditions are the same, it's just the baton that gets handed over to other players to lead," he explained.
"Keegan and Bismarck in particular have really taken to it [their leadership responsibilities] and are enjoying it, and the rest of the players are pitching in and helping out, making my job easier.
"But we haven't kicked a ball off yet, the pressure is still to come. However, the hard work of the pre-season is over and we can now get on with it."
One of the biggest changes at the Sharks could be in the midfield, where JP Pietersen could make an appearance in a shift from his usual role out on the wing.
Plumtree has been grooming the Springbok speedster for a crack at outside centre in the pre-season matches and is excited to see if it will pay off.
"I'm really excited about JP in the midfield," he admitted.
With a long season ahead there will be a need for some player rotation and every sides depth will be tested.
It's a case of just managing that wear and tear, we have some good depth, although up front we're getting a bit stressed with props and need to sort that out, we'll see indications of drop offs in the collision area especially," Plumtree explained.
"We will rest players up when we have to. We have nine rounds before our bye, that's a long time and we will need to make sure that we keep this group as fresh as possible."
As things stand wing Odwa Ndungane is doubtful for the Bulls clash, while Springboks Willem Alberts, Jean Deysel and Tendai Mtawarira are all unavailable for the start of the campaign.
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