Van der Walt to captain Sharks against Jaguares
Durban - Philip van der Walt will captain the Sharks when they take on the Jaguares in a crucial Super Rugby clash in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
The 27-year-old flank takes over the leadership responsibilities from Tera Mtembu, who drops to the bench after leading the Sharks to a disappointing 9-9 draw against the Rebels in Durban this past weekend.
Tendai Mtawarira, meanwhile, did not travel with the squad after a late decision was taken to rest him this weekend and Thomas du Toit will now start at loosehead prop.
Jean-Luc du Preez and Daniel du Preez complete the loose trio with Van der Walt, while Rhyno Smith gets a start at fullback.
Jeremy Ward replaces the suspended Andre Esterhuizen at No 12, while 36-year-old veteran Odwa Ndungane starts at right wing.
There is also a change at scrumhalf, where Cobus Reinach drops to the bench with Michael Claassens cracking the nod.
"The idea has always been to give the other guys a chance. Last week, I spoke to the guys who didn’t start and told them they would be getting an opportunity this week," said coach Robert du Preez.
"It’s right to start them and there is very little to choose between the guys on the bench and those who are starting. We need to give them a start, it’s good for their morale and for their well-being as part of the squad."
Du Preez was also mindful of what he expected to be an extremely tough challenge from the Jaguares.
"They haven’t lost at home this year. It’s going to be a very physical encounter, we know that and we know how tough they are at home," the coach said.
"But having said that, we’re going with a very positive mindset. We beat them there last year and we want to go there to get the win. It’s going to require a massive performance from every single Sharks player, from 1 to 23."
Kick-off on Saturday is at 21:40 (SA time).
15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Jeremy Ward, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt (captain), 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Thomas du Toit
Substitutes: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Tera Mtembu, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 23 Johan Deysel