Durban - South Africa’s Super Rugby local
derbies kick off at Kings Park on Saturday afternoon where the Sharks, with new
Director of Rugby Gary Gold in charge for the first time since his move from
Japan, will host the Cheetahs.
The home crowd will be keen to see their
team go all the way this year, after a number of close calls in the past.
This will be an interesting match-up, with
the visitors an unpredictable and dangerous side if the mood strikes them. The
Sharks know this well, as the Cheetahs managed to register wins in Durban
before. In fact, the Cheetahs have won three times from seven visits, but will
find the going tough. They last won their opening match in the tournament in
2007 and failed to register an opening weekend win since.
The Sharks have won their last two
season-openers and have beaten the Cheetahs in the opening weekends in 2011 and
Visiting coach Naka Drotske has lost a
number of stalwarts since the completion of last year's competition and much of
his success will depend on the attacking thrust from his back three, where
Springboks Willie le Roux and Cornal Hendricks and Springbok tourist Raymond
Rhule pose a serious threat. The coach decided to include former Springbok
Sevens stepper Clayton Blommetjies on the wing and play Hendricks off the bench
as he picked a team ‘suited for the expected coastal conditions’.
He also handed former Stormers midfielder,
Michael van der Spuy a first start for the Bloemfontein side and lock Francois
Uys the captain's armband.
Gold named former Sharks player Waylon
Murray at outside centre and included new recruits Renaldo Bothma and Mouritz
Botha in the pack. Bismarck du Plessis will again lead the team packed with
“For me, the Cheetahs are one of the most
dangerous sides to play against and on their day they have the ability to beat
any team,” explained Gold.
“Our guys have prepared well for the
tournament and there is a fantastic spirit in the camp. We want to play an
exciting brand of rugby that our fans demand, and score tries. The only way to
win matches is to score tries and to do that you need to keep the ball in hand.
Our players are determined and will give nothing less than 100% effort on the
15. SP Marais,
14. S’bura Sithole, 13. Waylon Murray, 12. Heimar Williams, 11. Lwazi
Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Tera Mtembu, 7. Renaldo
Bothma, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4. Mouritz Botha,
3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1. Tendai
Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper,
17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Matt Stevens, 19. Marco Wentzel,20. Jean Deysel,
21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Fred Zeilinga, 23. Odwa Ndungane
Willie le Roux, 14 Clayton Blommetjies, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Michael
van der Spuy, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Joe Petersen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8
Willie Britz, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Jean Cook, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4
Lood de Jager, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Danie
Substitutes: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 BG Uys, 18 Maks van
Dyk, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Boom Prinsloo, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Willie du
Plessis, 23 Cornal Hendricks