Sharks pick Smit at loosehead
Durban - Although there have not been any wholesale changes to the Sharks team to host the Lions in Durban on Saturday, coach John Plumtree has made a couple of rotational, as well as one enforced change to his side.
According to Sharks website editor Mike Marnewick, the front row sees two changes with John Smit starting at loosehead and captaining the side with Tendai Mtawarira named among the replacements while Eugene van Staden, after some impressive performances off the bench, gets his first start of the season.
Jannie du Plessis who has started six of the first seven matches gets a well-earned break and will, like “Beast”, get an opportunity later in the game.
The only other change to the starting line-up comes in the second row with Gerhard Mostert starting for the injured Alistair Hargreaves who has a hairline fracture of his AC joint. Mostert’s elevation to a starting berth means an opportunity for Ross Skeate who returns to the side after a lengthy absence that goes back to August of last year’s Currie Cup.
The Lions come to Durban without history on their side, having last beaten the Sharks in this competition in Bloemfontein in 2001. The Sharks have nine wins over the Lions (and Cats) in the last 10 years with one match drawn, but this is a new challenge, a new year and past results count for very little.
As coach John Plumtree said this week, “Our attitude, our desire, our want has got to be way more than theirs the boys... how important this week is.”
15. Louis Ludik, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Stefan Terblanche, 12. Meyer Bosman, 11. JP Pietersen, 10. Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Keegan Daniel, 5. Gerhard Mostert, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Eugene van Staden, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. John Smit (captain)
Substitutes: 16. Tendai Mtawarira, 17. Jannie du Plessis, 18. Ross Skeate, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Conrad Hoffmann, 21. Adrian Jacobs, 22. Lwazi Mvovo