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    Gold: 'Half of Frans has come back'

    2015-03-06 07:19

    Durban - With the return of JP Pietersen and Frans Steyn from Japan and their inclusion into the Cell C Sharks starting XV for Saturday’s clash with the Stormers, the Durban-based side’s midfield looks especially dangerous.

    The experience they bring is special: between them, the pair have accumulated more than 300 caps for the Sharks in Currie Cup and Super Rugby, more than 100 at international level, as well as a number of caps earned in France and Japan.

    Commenting on the duo’s return to the side, Director of Rugby Gary Gold, told Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick: “They’re hugely experienced Springboks and they are coming back to a group of players they’ve been with for a long time, it’s not like this is a new team for them.

    “And it’s not as if they haven’t been playing rugby. They came straight back in because they’ve been playing rugby week in and week out in Japan. I don’t think it’s a gamble bringing them right back in, their experience is going to help us through the spine of the team and will hopefully help Bissie (Bismarck du Plessis) and Patrick (Lambie) with the leadership throughout the whole team.”

    Commenting on the leaner-looking 27-year-old Steyn, Gold believes there might be a subtle change to his style given the new physique he’s brandishing. “Half of Frans has come back from Japan, I’m not sure we’re going to use him as a battering ram. But his play-making ability is exceptional, we want to try and have an opportunity where we can play a brand of rugby where we have two first receivers, Frans has played 10 as well and that makes a big difference.

    “And JP’s versatility will help us as well. Hopefully it’s having the all-round package with the older heads in what I think is going to be a very pressured situation down at Newlands.”

    The Bulls went into last week’s clash with the Sharks having suffered consecutive defeats and they reacted well to the pressure. Although there is no cause for panic in the Sharks camp, they know that a good result this weekend is important and will take a lot out of the loss - both positives and negatives - as they look to break the Stormers undefeated run.

    “I wouldn’t say it’s a must win match, but we’re bitterly disappointed about last weekend, we want to rectify what happened,” he explains. “We thought we played well enough to win the game even though there were areas of our own performance in the first half we weren’t happy with, but we still thought we did enough. We’re going to have to repeat that work we were happy with and rectify the other issues.

    “And it doesn’t get easy against a team hasn’t been beaten, and doing it away from home again.”

    Despite the severe disappointment, there is a steely determination to perform on the weekend, to deliver the kind of performance that brings positive results.

    “The guys are fired up, I’ve been really impressed with their response after the bitter disappointment of last week. There are areas we can definitely improve on, but it’s very difficult to be angry with the players as a coaching staff; I thought the character we showed to come back from 30-19 down was outstanding to regain the lead.

    “The guys are very hungry and we’ve been very impressed with the way they’ve trained this week.”

    Saturday’s clash at Newlands kicks off at 19:10.



    15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff

    Substitutes: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones


    15. SP Marais, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. JP Pietersen, 12. Frans Steyn, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4. Lubabalo Mtyanda, 3. Matt Stevens, 2. Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1. Thomas du Toit

    Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Marco Wentzel, 20. Renaldo Bothma, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Andre Esterhuizen, 23. Jack Wilson

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