Durban - Crowd-favourite, loosehead prop Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira, will make his much-awaiting return to the Sharks when he fronts up for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Highlanders in Durban, according to Sharks website
editor Michael Marnewick.
Mtawarira has had a lengthy spell out of the game after an ankle injury sustained during the pre-season build-up to the tournament, and after two games for the Sharks XV, is now fit and available for the Sharks.
Despite picking a vastly experienced Sharks side, coach John Plumtree warns that the Highlanders bring plenty of experience and aggression to the table themselves.
“We must make sure we kick accurately and our contestable kicking is accurate so we can get under those high balls because the Highlanders are more than just a counter-attacking side, they’re aggressive upfront and they have lots of experience.
“They’re a well-balanced side with heaps of X-factor. They have players who have been around for a long time and that’s one of the reasons why they’re doing well - they’re an experienced side - Jamie Joseph has assembled a good team.”
The Sharks side named also features a few other changes. John Plumtree will - together with the medical staff - make a late call on Jannie du Plessis who took a knock in the Chiefs game, and he will certainly play a role, whether in the starting line-up or off the bench, with Wiehahn Herbst set to share the tighthead duties.
Marcell Coetzee is back in the starting line-up after playing off the bench against the Chiefs and he will partner Keegan Daniel and Jacques Botes who starts his second game in succession.
Among the backs, the Sharks coach has made an interesting selection, the hugely-exciting Paul Jordaan named at outside centre after featuring in the first three games of the tournament off the bench. This means a rotational change with JP Pietersen shifted to wing and Louis Ludik moving to fullback.
Plumtree has gone with a 5-2 split on the bench, with Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jean Deysel and a returning Ryan Kankowski all providing cover in the second and back row, with Frederic Michalak and Meyer Bosman the backline replacements.Teams:Sharks:
15 Louis Ludik, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie,9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain ), 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis / Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst / Jannie du Plessis, 18 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Ryan Kankowski, 21 Frederic Michalak, 22 Meyer Bosman