Sharks pick side for Crusaders
Durban - Coach John Plumtree has named his team to take on the Crusaders in Friday's Super Rugby match at Kings Park, sure to emulate epic clashes of the past.
According to Sharks website Editor Michael Marnewick
, Jannie du Plessis will start at tighthead with Wiehahn Herbst shifting to the bench in the only change to the forward pack that featured against the Rebels. The loss of Lwazi Mvovo to a hand injury means JP Pietersen moves across to left-wing with Odwa Ndungane slotting in the No 14 jersey.
Francois Steyn has been named at fullback with Louis Ludik bracketed in with S’Bura Sithole on the bench, pending a late fitness test.
Pieter-Steph du Toit will continue in the second row as his development is given a real test against a quality side like the Crusaders. After last week’s lineout problems suffered by the Stormers, the Sharks are well-aware of the importance of getting the set-piece functioning and Du Toit will have a big role to play.
“You can’t have a meltdown in an area like the lineouts, it takes good, hard work to get into an attacking situation, and then to lose ball puts you under immense pressure,” explained Plumtree.
“And you don’t want to be doing that against a team like the Crusaders who are able to hold on to the ball for long periods of time. The lineout has been a big focus for us, not only for this match but throughout the competition. We’re operating at around 84% and we’ve been going okay, but it is going to be tough, the Crusaders boast All Black locks. There is a mixture of reasons why the Stormers lineout failed, it’s not one person, it takes a good throw, a good lift, a good jump and hopefully the same thing won’t happen to us.”
Of Du Toit’s successive starts, Plumtree admits that it is all part of his development.
“What I want to do this year is develop him, he took his opportunity against the Rebels and I wanted to reward him with a start against the Crusaders. Anton Bresler will get an opportunity to play off bench. You’ve got to have good depth and so it was good to see Pieter-Steph play so well in that game.”
This match is going to be a huge test for the Sharks and Plumtree warned as much.
“The Crusaders’ skill levels are really high, their backs and forwards handle the ball well, so our defensive plan is going to have to be very accurate. The breakdown is also going to be huge and we need to be competitive there.”Teams:
15. Francois Steyn, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Meyer Bosman, 11. JP Pietersen, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Keegan Daniel (captain), 7. Marcell Coetzee, 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Anton Bresler, 19. Ryan Kankowski, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Riaan Viljoen, 22. Louis Ludik / S’Bura Sithole