With next season’s Heineken Champions Cup including three South African clubs, we’re going to take you through each squad, picking out some of the players who could star in the competition. Next up we look at the leading Sharks forwards, who will be up against Harlequins and Union Bordeaux-Bègles in Pool A.

Bongi Mbonambi

The hooker was a key player for Sharks as they finished fifth in the United Rugby Championship (URC) standings last season before narrowly losing to Bulls in the quarter-finals.

A World Cup winner with South Africa in 2019, the 31-year-old was Sharks’ leading try scorer with seven, and was responsible for 127 successful lineout throws, the fourth most of any player in the competition.

Thomas du Toit

The prop, who is a 14-time South Africa international and was a late call up to the World Cup-winning squad in 2019, is set to be another huge presence in the Sharks front row as they make their Heineken Champions Cup bow.

In addition to dotting down for three tries, the 27-year-old was a goliath in defence in the URC last season as he featured in all 19 of his club’s games, making more tackles (157) and securing more turnovers (12) than any teammate.

Phepsi Buthelezi

The lock also featured in all 19 of Sharks’ URC games last season, starting 14 and crossing for three tries.

The 23-year-old was among the top 50 players in the competition when it came to metres made (546), carries (124) and tackles (132), underlining his status as one of Sharks’ most promising talents.

Siya Kolisi

The flanker’s reputation precedes him having led South Africa to glory at the 2019 World Cup, and his experience will be vital to Sharks in a tournament as competitive as the Heineken Champions Cup.

The 31-year-old, who secured eight turnovers in 14 URC games last season, joined Sharks in 2021 and has captained the Springboks for the last four years, with 65 caps to his name.