THE Sharks have brought back their Springboks World Cup winners to face the Dragons – and boss Dai Flanagan insists he couldn’t be happier.

The South Africans are bottom of the United Rugby Championship after losing away to Munster, Leinster, the Ospreys and Zebre before last week’s home defeat to Connacht.

The Sharks, who finished eighth in last year’s table, are in dire need of a success and boss John Plumtree has brought back the big guns.

Lock Eben Etzebeth, centre Lukhanyo Am, wing Makazole Mapimpi and scrum-half Jaden Hendrikse start while powerhouse prop Ox Nche and scrum-half Grant Williams are on the bench.

Flanagan expected the Boks to be back, minus the injured Bongi Mbonambi and Vincent Koch, and got the confirmation when the Sharks team was announced.

“I love it,” insisted the former fly-half. “We are still a young team and the opportunity to play against them is superb.

“You need your best players when desperate for a win and we have prepared for them being on the field.

South Wales Argus: CLASSY: South Africa and Sharks centre Lukhanyo AmCLASSY: South Africa and Sharks centre Lukhanyo Am (Image: Press Association)

“Am is the best centre in the world when at his prime, Mapimpi, the best wing in the world when playing well, Eben Etzebeth, the best second row in the world.

“How good is this opportunity for our boys to have a go at them? I am sure that we will do well and then that will give us belief.

“This brings a nervous excitement, there is the fear of what we are going up against but the excitement to show what we can do.

“We know that we are in for a tough task but it is one that we are really looking forward to.”

Hooker Bradley Roberts, a former Sharks age-grade player, echoed the sentiments of his boss ahead of his Kings Park return.

“We love testing ourselves. We want to play teams at their full strength because it challenges us to be at our best,” said the Wales international from Durban.

“It will give us a good gauge because these guys are back from winning the World Cup. The Sharks are loaded with quality but we just need to do what we know works for us.”

The Sharks are without a win in the URC but are overwhelming favourites thanks to their World Cup winners.

“They’ve brought a huge amount of energy with them which has been great for us as a collective,” said attack coach Dave Williams.

“Having these players back and the confidence they bring, has been contagious and the rest of the group are all excited for the game.”

Sharks: Fassi; Kok; Am (captain), F Venter, Mapimpi; Bosch, Hendrikse; Mchunu, Mbatha, Oosthuizen, Etzebeth, van Heerden, J Venter, Buthelezi, Notshe.

Replacements: Jooste, Nche, Jacobs, Rahl, Labuschagne, Williams, Chamberlain, van Rensburg.