Botes to start against the Blues
Auckland - Despite the massive effort required of the Cell C Sharks in their victory over the Crusaders, Director of Rugby Jake White
was able to name an almost unchanged line-up for the final tour match against the Blues on Friday.Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick reports
that with Jean Deysel
suspended until 7 June following a disciplinary hearing, Jacques Botes
gets his first start of the year (making his 115th Super Rugby appearance for the team).
The rest of the team remains unchanged for the crucial game.
The Sharks have something of a psychological hold over the Blues, enjoying a run of eight wins that extends back to their last loss against the Auckland side in 2005. While that might be reason to smile, it’s really just false confidence explains Director of Rugby Jake White
"The Crusaders have had our number over the years and we ended up turning the tables on them, so if there is one team that knows history is important - but meaningless - it’s the Cell C Sharks."
His team were forced into defending heroically against the Crusaders and he expects - as one wold against New Zealand teams - to be under pressure from a home side who place strong emphasis on their attacking prowess.
They’ve scored amongst the most tries in the competition this year and a win would put them right in line for a top six finish.
"We are going to have to defend," says White.
"I don’t think they will kick as much as the Crusaders did, they’ll definitely try run it back at us and they’ve got some dangerous outside backs.
"But, in saying that, we need to make sure that the rest of our game is good enough as well, we can’t rely on defence only.
"We got away with it against the Crusaders but I don’t think you can defend like that week in and week out.
"We are going to have to create some pressure when we are attacking as well."
There has been talk of the scarcity of tries scored in the last month or so and there were encouraging signs against the Crusaders where they outscored them three to one. White acknowledges this.
"There has been a lot of criticism about our lack of tries.
"To put it in perspective, the Crusaders had scored nearly 100 points in the two matches before we met, and they scored just one try against us.
"But, the positives are that we scored three tries and there is a massive positive vibe in the team now and we need to take that forward into the next couple of weeks."Teams:Blues:
15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Pita Ahki, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Luke Braid (captain), 6 Peter Saili, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Substitutes: 16 James Parsons, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Steven Luatua, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Albert NikoroSharks:
15 SP Marais, 14 JP Pietersen
, 13 S’bura Sithole, 12 Paul Jordaan
, 11 Lwazi Mvovo
, 10 Francois Steyn, 9 Cobus Reinach
, 8 Willem Alberts
, 7 Tera Mtembu, 6 Jacques Botes
, 5 Stephan Lewies
, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Kyle Cooper
, 17 Dale Chadwick
, 18 Lourens Adriaanse
, 19 Ryan Kankowski
, 20 Keegan Daniel
, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Heimar Williams