Sharks to rotate selections
Gavin Rich - SuperSport
Johannesburg - Cell C Sharks director of rugby Jake White has hinted that he will start rotating his selections more than he has so far this season once his squad reaches Australasia for the overseas leg of their Vodacom Super Rugby campaign.
According to the supersport.com website, the Sharks face an important home clash against the Highlanders on Friday night before heading to Australia, where they face the Rebels in Melbourne in their first tour match next weekend. In explaining the latest team selection, he told a press conference at Growthpoint Kings Park that in view of the importance of winning ahead of the tour so the Sharks can leave with momentum, he wanted to keep change to as little as possible.
However, while most of the recent injuries have come at the back, he admitted that the forwards, with the Springbok front row having played every game together so far and ditto for Willem Alberts and Marcell Coetzee, might need a bit of refreshing.
“Jannie du Plessis can’t keep going on every single week, and it is the same with the Beast (Tendai Mtwarira),” said White.
“We have kept the team as intact as we can for a vital home game on the eve of the tour. But there is going to have to be rotation. When and how will be dependent on who we play and who is available for each specific game.
“Willem Alberts, Jean Deysel and Marcell Coetzee are also all due a break. We are going to have to make a call eventually and rotate them. We will tweak things a bit as we get on tour.”
The Sharks hold a commanding lead at the top of the South African conference and are also in a strong position at the top of the overall log. But White knows how quickly things can unravel in Super Rugby, and with home from counting for everything so far this year, he is understandably heavily focused on this week and ensuring that his team leaves for tour with their current buffer intact and the confidence that comes with the winning momentum they have enjoyed for most of the season.
White said he had momentarily considered moving Frans Steyn to flyhalf for the Highlanders game but had quickly changed his mind.
“It’s partly due to the fact that I need Frans’ experience in the midfield, and with Paul Jordaan back it gives us a much more experienced centre combination,” White explained.
“In the second half, S’bura could go back to 13, SP Marais could then come on as fullback and Lwazi Mvovo can go tto wing and we would finish with the same formation we had against the Cheetahs.”