Cape Town - As anticipated, Butch James will be back in the Sharks No 10 jersey when the Durban team travels to Newlands on Saturday to play Western Province in a Currie Cup match that represents the halfway point in their respective campaigns, reports the supersport.com website.
But while there has been another round of rotation as the Sharks stick to the policy laid out by their new director of rugby, Brendan Venter, at the start of the season, last week’s man of the match Charl McLeod will again play off the bench. This fits in with the Sharks planning, with each player being told a long way ahead of time exactly when he is going to be used this season.
“Charl did play really well for us when he came on last week (against the Blue Bulls) but we have two excellent scrumhalves and we have a responsibility to give both of them opportunities to develop,” explained Sharks backline coach Sean Everett.
So Cobus Reinach will start alongside veteran James, who comes in for Fred Zeilinga.
“Fred has been excellent in the games he has played for us but it is now Butch’s turn to start,” explained Everett.
James will be playing the Cape Town game alongside someone who knows both the opposition and the stadium really well.
Former WP and Stormers star Tim Whitehead is now back from his latest injury and comes into the midfield in place of Heimar Williams in another rotational switch. The timing of the pairing up of James and Whitehead in the all-important flyhalf/inside centre decision making axis is well timed for the Sharks, who will rely heavily on their experience at a difficult away venue against the only unbeaten team in the Currie Cup.
“WP are playing really well at the moment and they will be relying a lot on (inside centre) Damian de Allende set up go-forward ball and they have a Springbok centre in Juan de Jongh, so they are dangerous at the back,” said Everett.
There is one injury enforced change for the Sharks out wide, with Sizo Maseko set to return in place of the injured Odwa Ndungane. There has been an additional rotation amongst the forwards, with Danie Mienie coming in for Dale Chadwick at loosehead prop while Rayno Gerber gets his first start at tighthead in place of Wiehahn Herbst.
The Sharks team will be announced on Wednesday or Thursday, but the starting team is unlikely to deviate from the following:
15 SP Marais, 14 Sizo Maseko, 13 Louis Ludik, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Butch James, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Jacques Botes (captain), 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Peet Marais, 3 Rayno Gerber, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Danie Mienie