Vodacom Super 14

Smit back as Sharks skipper

2010-02-11 15:40
Sharks skipper (File)
Durban - Springbok captain John Smit leads the Sharks in Saturday’s opening Super 14 clash against the Chiefs at The Absa Stadium in Durban.

According to the Sharks website, coach John Plumtree has named Gerhard Mostert who was signed from the Lions last year along with Willem Alberts in his matchday 22. The pair will play off the bench.

Smit will start at tighthead prop in an all-Bok front row alongside Bismarck du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira with a maturing partnership in Steven Sykes and Johann Muller in the second row.

A potentially devastating back three complete the pack while the backline has a solid, experienced look about it. Ruan Pienaar is over his pre-season surgery and has been named on the bench.

The Chiefs will have to contend with some unfriendly February weather conditions on Saturday – far removed from the temperate comfort zone of New Zealand’s premier dairy farming region – as well as a Sharks team who have faced a fair amount of criticism during their pre-season. However, Coach John Plumtree agrees that last year’s losing finalists present formidable opposition.

“If you look at the Chiefs, they’ve always had brilliant backs, very entertaining to watch even when the team isn’t doing well. Last year they got to the final and you can’t do that without a good pack, and their pack is well respected in New Zealand rugby. They are pretty good all round, missing a couple of players but plenty to back them up.”

Despite having left two important players at home, fullback Mils Muliaina and wing Lelia Masaga, they will still be a huge threat and Plumtree points out that for every player they lose, another is ready to step up to the mark.

“New Zealand has this ability to produce players with brilliant flair and I think we’ll see a few coming through in this Chiefs side,” he admits.

Despite the Chiefs often being slow starters, they will come in to the 2010 competition with a different sort of mindset and plenty of motivation. “The success of last year gave them confidence,” says The Sharks coach. “The last time they were in South Africa they got a hiding in the final, so will be wanting a really good tour which sets them up for a good season.”


15-Stefan Terblanche, 14-Odwa Ndungane, 13-Waylon Murray, 12-Andries Strauss, 11-JP Pietersen, 10-Monty Dumond, 9-Rory Kockott, 8-Ryan Kankowski, 7-Jean Deysel, 6-Keegan Daniel, 5-Johann Muller, 4-Steven Sykes, 3-John Smit (captain), 2-Bismarck du Plessis, 1-Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16-Craig Burden, 17-Jannie du Plessis, 18-Gerhard Mostert, 19-Willem Alberts, 20-Jacques Botes, 21-Ruan Pienaar, 22-Adrian Jacobs



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