Durban - Since the end of October, it’s been quiet on the rugby front but finally we can haul out the scarves, banners, jerseys and other branded merchandise ahead of Friday night’s all-South African Vodacom Super Rugby match between the Bulls and Sharks.
According to Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick
, Sharks coach John Plumtree has selected just two debutants for the match, Dale Chadwick at loosehead prop and Paul Jordaan on the bench, while Tim Whitehead and Riaan Viljoen will be playing their first official games in Sharks’ colours.
Keegan Daniel will captain a forward pack that has the right mix of youth and experience, with a bench that will also be able to offer plenty in the latter stages of the game.
A particularly interesting statistic worth noting is that this is the fourth time the two teams have met in Week 1 of Super Rugby. The Sharks have won all three previous matches (30-17 and 17-3 in 2001 and 2007 in Durban, and 23-18 in Pretoria in 2004).
It’s been nearly four months of behind-the-scenes hard work, but with all the foundation work now completed, it’s time for action.
“We’re looking forward to the season,” explains coach John Plumtree. “It comes to a point when all the work is done and the players can look forward to a game at the highest level. The mood at training is mirroring that, the boys are a bit grumpy and now they just want to get out there and play. We’re all looking forward to it.”
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Jaques Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling
Substitutes: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 CJ Stander, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 JJ Engelbrecht
15. Riaan Viljoen, 14. Louis Ludik, 13. JP Pietersen, 12. Tim Whitehead, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Frederic Michalak, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Marcell Coetzee, 6. Keegan Daniel (captain), 5. Anton Bresler, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Dale Chadwick
Substitutes: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Ross Skeate, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Meyer Bosman, 22. Paul Jordaan