Andre Esterhuizen returns to the Shark Tank

Andre Esterhuizen returns to the Shark Tank

Harlequins’ Coaches have named the first-ever team to face South African opposition in the Heineken Champions Cup, playing the Cell C Sharks at Hollywoodbets Kings Park this Saturday – 13:00 kick-off UK time.


The starting XV sees one change to the side that claimed a gritty victory over Bath in the Gallagher Premiership seven days ago, with England international Joe Marchant returning to join Andre Esterhuizen in the midfield. After his first start at outside centre in the Premiership last week, Oscar Beard reverts to a spot amongst the Impact Players.

Esterhuizen returns to Kings Park for the first time since leaving the Sharks in 2019 to join Harlequins. The giant centre will line-up against many fellow Springboks, but also a former Harlequins teammate in Australian international Ben Tapuai, who will start as Esterhuizen’s opposite man for the first time since helping Harlequins to lift the 2020/21 Premiership title.

In their debut seasons in the Famous Quarters, lock Irne Herbst and wing Josh Bassett will make their first appearances for Harlequins in the Champions Cup, having previously featured in the competition with their former teams. A competition debut will come for hooker George Head from the bench, with the Academy graduate looking to enter what is set to be a physical fixture from amongst the Impact Players.

Head Coach Tabai Matson said: “We’ve had some great training this week. After a long flight and a tough match against Bath, the boys have been in good shape and this week’s preparation has been a great block for us.

“We’ve had a fantastic week. We’ve been down to LIV Village and it was great to spend some time there as part of the Harlequins Foundation’s charity partnership throughout the Champions Cup.

“We’re the first club to play in South Africa in this competition and we’ve made sure we enjoy the week here. It’s been a great build-up to this game.

“You can’t talk about this Sharks team and not discuss their physicality and the pressure they bring at the set-piece. It’s been crucial to our preparation this week and they are areas we have to be able to compete in.

“Their team is full of Springboks and they’ll be wanting to impress in their first encounter in the Champions Cup. There are lots of reasons to be excited this week.”

Harlequins Starting XV

1. Joe Marler

2. Jack Walker

3. Wilco Louw

4. Dino Lamb

5. Irne Herbst

6. Jack Kenningham

7. Will Evans

8. Alex Dombrandt – Captain

9. Danny Care

10. Tommy Allan

11. Josh Bassett

12. Andre Esterhuizen

13. Joe Marchant

14. Cadan Murley

15. Nick David

Impact Players

16. George Head (Champions Cup debut)

17. Fin Baxter

18. Simon Kerrod

19. George Hammond

20. Tom Lawday

21. Lewis Gjaltema

22. Oscar Beard

23. Will Edwards

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