Vodacom Super Rugby
Sharks bench Bok captain
Johannesburg - The Sharks will start Saturday’s Super Rugby match against the Stormers at Kings Park with their strongest front row.
That means there is no place for Springbok captain John Smit.
Tendai (Beast) Mtawarira has been included in his place at loosehead prop, with Smit on the substitutes bench.
The team was only announced late on Thursday afternoon due to a number of players being stricken by flu.
At least five players still have flu less than 48 hours before kick-off against the Stormers.
The only other change to the side is on the left wing, with JP Pietersen replacing Lwazi Mvovo.
Doubts about the fitness of flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter were eradicated at Thursday afternoon’s training session. His injured calf has healed and he will play. He participated in the training session without any discomfort and will give direction to the Sharks’ attack.
It is particularly insightful that Sharks coach John Plumtree has decided to axe Smit from the front row.
There is no doubt that the Sharks need to bring out the heavy artillery against the powerful Stormers scrum. That is why Mtawarira joins the Du Plessis brothers, Jannie and Bismarck, in the front row.
It is one area of the game where Plumtree expects a substantial improvement from last week’s match against the Crusaders at Twickenham.
It did not go well with Smit at loosehead prop, with the Sharks scrum coming under a lot of pressure.
That scenario cannot be afforded against the Stormers and there will be a lot of pressure on the Sharks pack to stand their ground.
However, the Sharks may draw inspiration from history, having won 8 of their games on their return to Kings Park over the past 10 years.TeamsSharks:
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.Alistair Hargreaves, 4.Steven Sykes, 3.Jannie du Plessis, 2.Bismarck du Plessis, 1.Beast Mtawarira. Substitutes:
16.John Smit, 17.Eugene van Staden, 18.Gerhard Mostert, 19.Jacques Botes, 20.Conrad Hoffmann, 21.Adrian Jacobs, 22.Lwazi Mvovo.
15. Gio Aplon, 14. Danie Poolman, 13. Jaque Fourie, 12. Jean De Villiers, 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Peter Grant, 9. Dewaldt Duvenage, 8. Duane Vermuelen, 7. Francois Louw, 6. Schalk Burger (captain), 5. Andries Bekker, 4. Rynhardt Elstadt, 3. Brok Harris, 2. Deon Fourie, 1. Wicus Blaauw. Substitutes:
16. Ethienne Reynecke, 17. CJ Van Der Linde, 18. De Kock Steenkamp, 19. Nick Koster, 20. Ricky Januarie, 21. Gary Van Aswegen, 22. Juan De Jongh.