Michalak to start at No 10

2011-06-16 15:12

Johannesburg - Captain John Smit has been dropped to the bench for the Sharks’ decisive Super Rugby clash against the Bulls at Loftus on Saturday.

Bismarck du Plessis comes in ahead of the Springbok captain, with his brother, Jannie also returning to contention after passing a late fitness test on a knee injury that forced him to miss the last three games.

Smit is one of five team changes made by coach John Plumtree.

Eugene van Staden, Jacques Botes and Steven Sykes make way while Jean Deysel is back after a two week suspension.

Second rower Alistair Hargreaves has been promoted to the starting XV.

The only change at the back sees the inclusion of newly signed French utility back Frederic Michalak in the place of Louis Ludik who moves to the bench.

He slots in at flyhalf with exciting Patrick Lambie moving to fullback.

Willem Alberts has recovered from the shoulder injury that kept him out against the Lions last week, but must make do with a place on the bench.

The match in Pretoria is a "winner take all" meeting as the side that ends up victorious is guaranteed a place in the competition playoffs.


15 Patrick Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Stefan Terblanche (capt), 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Gerhard Mostert, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 John Smit, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Ross Skeate, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Marcell Coetzee, 21 Adrian Jacobs, 22 Louis Ludik 

15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Jaco Pretorius, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling

Substitutes: 16 Gary Botha, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Danie Rossouw, 20 Fourie du Preez, 21 Francois Brummer, 22 Akona Ndungane


  • Dowwe Duane - 2011-06-16 15:33

    Mike@CapeT will probably say now the Sharks has the "X" factor

      Mike@CapeT - 2011-06-16 16:07

      And who are you?

      Dowwe Duane - 2011-06-16 16:31

      @Mike You even better, you've got the XX factor, like in double. As you know most other men come with the XY factor

      WPBEFONK - 2011-06-16 16:59

      Great an VERY POWERFUL team. Now I'm 100% sure, the Sharks by 10++!!!!!!!

      WPBEFONK - 2011-06-16 17:17

      To ALL bloggers, I've noticed that someone is using my name and writesnegative comments about MY Stormers/WP. Just check the article on "aplon add speed". I will never do that, I'm a WP supporter for the past 40 years. I also don't understand how can sport24 allow different e-mails to use the same name. But if you see this negative comments about my STORMERS, that's not me. I AM A STORMER in BEEN EN MURG!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Ron - 2011-06-16 19:58

      Glad to see JS on the bench,, wow at last

      Bambie - 2011-06-16 22:46 a Bulls supporter i must say this is a very Strong side...Must admit that i'm quite nervous about this one. Hopefully the Bulls defense will be up to date as i can see that the Sharks are going to RUN a whole lot with this back line...

      BLOODY AGENT - 2011-06-17 09:20

      wpbefonk,"great a very---"

  • Jason - 2011-06-16 15:43

    I f****** HATE John Plumtree ... stop ruining my team with international has-beens! SA has enough talent to field 5 Super Rugby teams! Stop wasting our money on crap like Michalak and buy us better CENTRES!!

      Johan du Toi - 2011-06-16 15:45

      I am afraid Plumtree has reaches his "sell-by" date

      Martin - 2011-06-16 16:07

      Yep, buy yourselves a couple of Cheetahs, Stormers and/or Bulls like before and you're good to go another couple of years! Why not start developing your own surfer daggakoppie surfers?

      Jason - 2011-06-16 16:25

      @martin - Patrick Lambie is a Durban boy ... BEST FLY HALF IN SA!! If he played Fly half this weekend he'd show Morne how it's done. Thats why I'm so pissed off that he's been relegated to FB.

      GregandShaz - 2011-06-16 16:50

      He,s preparing for the curry cup when we loose our springboks dumbass

      Jason - 2011-06-16 16:55

      @GregandShaz - are you joking? He's sacrificing his performance in the Super15 as a platform to prepare for the Currie Cup? Thats like sacrificing World Cup performance to prepare for TriNations ... are you retarded?

      Wagga - 2011-06-16 17:48

      I’m a Cheetah supporter and when I said in the beginning of the season thanks for taking Bosman off our backs, I was told by many Sharks supporters that the Sharks took many mediocre players before and turned them into superstars. Where are those “ know all dudes now”. But thanks again chaps, the Cheetahs is a much better team without him, you just keep your superstar please

      Jason - 2011-06-16 17:54

      @Wagga - Please take him back!! I dont know which Sharks supporters told you such things but they were very wrong! And while we're at it ... will some Lions supporter take Ludik back too please?

      Danie - 2011-06-16 20:00

      There is no one better that is why this good choice was made!

      Brannas - 2011-06-17 07:17

      @Danie die tosser van Welkom, praat Afrikaans want jou myn Engels maak geen sin nie, of beter, praat Fanagalo, dit is mos julle moeder taal daar in Welkom

      mervtheswerv - 2011-06-19 13:40

      Jason you had a lot to say about Michalak being a has been , after last nights performance I hope you learn to shut your mouth and think before passing comments that make you look like a a***hole.

  • wayne.vanstraaten - 2011-06-16 15:55

    Jason en Johan du Toit, Albei van julle is onkundig en weet niks van afrigting af. Plumtree doen so goed as hy kan. Nie een van julle fools het al ooit vir Michalak gesien speel nie, as ek julle comments lees.

      Jason - 2011-06-16 16:04

      @ wayne ... you clearly dont know anything. FACTS ABOUT MICHALAK: Shark caps: 9 points scored: 5 5 freaking points in 9 games!!!! WTF man! Lambie scores more points in one half than Michalak, even my French friends laugh when I told them we bought Michalak. He's frikkin useless man.

      420 - 2011-06-16 16:26

      @Jason - Michalak doesnt kick for posts, and while he doesnt score a lot of points neither does Ludik... You cannot keep Fred on the bench. This backline is dangerous...

      Jason - 2011-06-16 16:38

      I'm sorry guys, you're never gonna convince me that sticking an over-the-hill French player into a key position like flyhalf in the final week of the comp, when we have a flyhalf as good as Lambie, is a good idea. It's lunacy.

  • Brannas - 2011-06-16 16:04

    Shame, poor sharks

      gnus wakker - 2011-06-16 22:43

      Shame, poor bulls, they is going to lose

      gnus wakker - 2011-06-16 22:44

      wiff a large margin

  • radar - 2011-06-16 16:10

    At least Plumtree is employing some "out of the box" thinking. Thank goodness in week 16 he has finally awaken from his slumber!! But why not Lambie at inside centre and Terrblance at fullback (has great positional play and educated boot). Play Alberts and Deysel on flank and Keegan Daniels at 8th man and Kankowski at Outside centre. Then you will see a dangerous Sharks backline opertaing and scoring tries. With Lwazi and JP on wings , bring on the Bulls. I am available to consult to Sharks!!!!

      420 - 2011-06-16 16:27

      Kankowski at 13? hahahaha, how badly do you want us to loose?

      scipio - 2011-06-16 16:49

      420. Kankowski alone would cover 12 and 13 better than the 2 overrated worthless chops you have as centers right now. I bet he would hit more gaps too.... Not like Bosman and Terreblance has ever hit a gap. :O

      Martin - 2011-06-16 18:43

      Actually, if you think about it - Kanko has a decent side step, fast and tackles plus 100+ kg's. Not a bad idea.

      Gavin - 2011-06-16 19:27

      Methinks Terrblance is having a very poor season and lucky to still be in the team for such an important game. Let's just hope Saterday brings out his old form...

      ChumScrubber - 2011-06-16 19:34

      I like the lateral thought processes, I'd love to see Spies on the wing for the Bulls. Terreblanche is a brilliant fullback, you're correct. Should keep Lambie at flyhalf - how can they change such a critical combo for such a crunch match. Michalak should not even have been considered, Adie should have started at centre. Ouch, we don't have much in the way of centres and locks!

      BardofAvon - 2011-06-16 19:52

      radar, do you have a blog? I am a Bulls supporter but I like your thinking. Respect.

      clarke - 2011-06-16 23:33

      @ChumScrubber you make complete sense, however if you think a little harder you will realise how important lambie could be at fullback, cool head under the high ball which morne will continually keep kicking and a massive boot from the back, also dont forget he will be a solid defense after the bulls run straight thru bosman, terblanche and michalak

  • Durasmart - 2011-06-16 16:20

    The irony here is that Lambie, who everyone has been trying to write into the Springbok team since last year as the first choice flyhalf, is suddenly not even deemed to be good enough to face Morne Steyn in a crunch game by his own provincial coach and had to replace him with a foreign international.

      Jason - 2011-06-16 16:28

      thats because the provincial coach is an idiot. Our problem has never been Lambie, it has been a myriad of other problems: - Terrible centre pairing - Charl Mcleod - No depth in Locks - John Smit in the wrong position - Louis Ludik (he never used to be useless but now he is) If Lambie played with a better Scrummie and IC he'd be a magician.

      clarke - 2011-06-16 23:28

      He faced him in a similar crunch game in the currie cup last year.... And although he gets so much praise for the final against the stormers, I think the real final was against the bulls in the semis, where he defensively played a huge role in stopping the bulls from winning. Bare in mind plumtree is not south african, he is not thinking about 2 of the best fly-halves going up against each other, hes thinking that the team is much stronger with Michalak and Lambie on the field as apposed to Ludik.... Also tactically lambie has a huge boot from the back for a territorial game, and also very solid under the high ball which the bulls are famous for, so many on this forum will take it as a negative that lambie starts at fullback, however judging by the way the bulls play their rugby, it just might be the most important position on the field come saturday...

      RuckingFun - 2011-06-17 00:00

      @clarke good comment, agree with you 100%

  • 420 - 2011-06-16 16:32

    It doesnt really matter which teams run out in the starting XV, this game will be determined by which team wants it more. I expect a bruising encounter. Test match rugby on the cards for Loftus, with the Sharks sneaking it by less then 5.

      radar - 2011-06-16 18:05

      @420 if only you knew something about rugby. The odds are 90% the Bulls will win and 10% the Sharks will win. Bulls have all the momentum and Sharks are struggling - were down 21 points to bottom placed Lions with 20 minutes to go. Week prior Sharks needed a friendly referee to save them from defeat against the Cheetahs. Week before were crunched by Bulls and week before that were hammered by Stormers. Oh , I missed that come from behind win at home against the Waratahs. Really inspiring form from themighty Sharks. As Jason above clearly and correctly states - there are gaping holes in the personnel department. Get a life man - the Sharks are mediocre at best and playing against the defending champions who have hit their straps the past 6 weeks. Just to remind you, the game is been played in the cauldron of Loftus - Morne Steyn will slot everything handed to him. Sharks will have to play out of their skins to even get a look in. Yes they can win, but the odds are heavily stacked against them. Realistic Sharks supporter!!

      ChumScrubber - 2011-06-16 19:29

      Sadly, I agree with you radar. From another realistic Sharks supporter. Anyway, losing this one will never come close to the disappointment of throwing the trophy away a few years ago - I can take any sort of punishing since that dreaded day. Hope Waratahs lose!

  • Lourens - 2011-06-16 16:38

    Not being able to watch the Sharks/Lions game last week I am posting on what I read in quite a few posts on various sites during the week. According to several posts Michalak really got the Sharks backline to fire when he came on at 10. Would this weeks team selection indicate that Plum is also of the opinion that Michalak is better in getting the backline going than Lambie???

      Gavin - 2011-06-16 19:29

      That was exactly my observations of the game, so I for one am glad to see him at number 10. Lambie is still young with a lot to learn.

      clarke - 2011-06-16 22:50

      Thats not what happened at all mate, you can watch the highlights to figure it out. The lions completely controlled the first 60 minutes of the game last week, they absolutely destroyed the sharks pack, the turning point was when bismarc came on for john smit, we got forward momentum in the collisions... Michalak was actually pretty poor, we had a overlap on their line, and they were 1 man down and he chose to kick them the ball, it was general bad decision making. Lambie had an excellent game, he scored a try, and assisted in the other 2 tries, the kick to mvovo was really impressive...

      Marcell - 2011-06-17 03:53

      The ref allowed the Sharks to play offside/on the ground! That got them going forward.

      Jason - 2011-06-17 13:35

      @Lourens and Gavin, i totally disagree, Clarke is spot on, Michalak had very little impact and Lambie had a cracker of a game, the game turned around when Biceps Duplessis came on for Smit. @Marcell - yeah sure ... the ref ALWAYS favours everyone except YOUR team. Grow up

  • scipio - 2011-06-16 16:45

    The Sharks vs The Bulls is the only fixture where you can witness 4 of the worse centers in world rugby having a miss (sic) at each other :P

  • Maarten - 2011-06-16 16:54

    This means only one thing. Kick, kick, kick. I just cannot see the Frenchie defend like young Lambie does, and if you put Bosman next to him.... Just spells good things for my Bulls.

  • Rob Rabbit - 2011-06-16 16:55

    Fullback is not the problem - the centre pairing is - Terblanche belongs in an old age home for slowed up ex rugby players. Lambie should play in his place.

      scipio - 2011-06-16 17:10

      That would be most sensible change. 10 Mich. 12 Lambie. 13 Adi Jacobs. That's the backline you want. Jacobs is a solid attacking player. Suspect defense, but it's not like Bosman or Terriblearse can tackle any better? Hopefully Bosman and Terreblance colide with eachother cracking both their skulls open so we can finally see a proper sharks backline... I feel bad about that statement... Wait. Not really :)

      ChumScrubber - 2011-06-16 19:24

      Agree, Ludik has been OK. Surely McCleod and Lambie would be a better halfback pair, doesn't it take time to get good understanding. Michalak decision is just desperation - I can see it failing, does not make sense to me. And Adie should start at centre, at least things happen when he's there.

      clarke - 2011-06-16 23:20

      I agree, its so damn obvious to us supporters that terblanche is not a outside centre.. I do not like Bosman but I think terblanche makes him look a lot more vulnerable at times, thus the reason jacobs always make a huge difference.... dont forget JL Potgeiter, hes one the best attacking backs around...he should of stayed at the cheetahs...bulls and sharks have done him no favours

  • Rob Rabbit - 2011-06-16 17:02

    The Sharks loose trio is way ahead of Spies et al and they should win the game for the East Coast of South Africa.

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-06-16 17:25

      Hi All, I just got some secret information from the Bulls camp.Apparently they have already picked 2 sides for Sat against the Sharks. They will be playing their 2nd team if the Waraths lose. As both the 6th and 5th place teams will have to travel for the quarters, they prefer to finish 6th (vs 5th) and then only have to travel an hour to Newlands vs 30h to NZ. I guess there's an above average chance the stormers will lose to the Cheetahs meaning they'll finish 3rd. 3vs 6 and 4vs 5 in quarters. Man that's dissapointing, there goes our Super-15 cup chances out the window. We all know what happened at Newlands a week ago!

      ChumScrubber - 2011-06-16 19:21

      Wish I was as positive as you, Bulls and BMT are what worries me - oh, and our team is just not as good as theirs.

      BardofAvon - 2011-06-16 19:34

      @SAFFA CAT: The Bulls can't manipulate the result because the Stormbarians Cheetahs game is only going to be played afterwards. And the Bulls are still busy peaking... so we will want to keep that progression but will be watching for injuries. So, if the Brumbies do beat the Warathahs, the Bulls will still want to win but may use the bench to rest players. By the way, if someone is stealing your nic, you should just post a pic or icon with it that is specific to you.

      clarke - 2011-06-16 23:16

      It doesn't mean a thing, there tight 5 is far superior, and that's whats gonna count. unfortunately we had our chance last weekend against the lions.... I will be very surprised if the sharks win it, that is one hungry blue machine at the moment...

  • ChumScrubber - 2011-06-16 19:16

    I'm a Sharks fan but the Bulls have the better team in all depts. Can't see us beating them at Loftus in such a critical game when we could not even pull it off against the Lions. Nothings impossible, but our team is mediocre this year, even if we do win I can't see us going all the way. Too many weaknesses, shown up by the Michalak choice - Sharks are desperate. Damn.

      Gavin - 2011-06-16 19:32

      how soon u have forgotten our first currie cup. written off completely......... than BAM, and Naas saw his aas.... it's that time again.

      BardofAvon - 2011-06-16 19:37

      I am a Bulls supporter but the Sharks have their front row fixed up now and that Michalac joker is not to be scoffed at. I think this game is closer to 50-50 than you are giving your team credit for. You have beaten us at Loftus a few time. Gonna be a don't miss (excuse the pun)!

  • Gavin - 2011-06-16 19:23

    Go Sharks.... that should add quite a bit of attack to the backline. Bulls.... Beware... 8)

  • Gavin - 2011-06-16 19:26

    All this talk dissing the team and praising Lambie. He has not had a good year at all, especially since he injured himself. Michalak is a much better flyhalf. Lambie can learn a lot from him for the years ahead. Right now it's best for him to learn a little and be patient.

      Groot Piep - 2011-06-16 20:21

      @SAFFA That's no state secret, it's a well known fact the he's a poephol pilot

  • BardofAvon - 2011-06-16 19:51

    No disrespect to the Sharks, but if Lambie was such a great flyhalf, why play him out of position? I mean, imagine the Bulls putting Morne at #15? Unthinkable.

      Jason - 2011-06-16 20:03

      Exactly ... Plumtree is a twat. Lambie is the future, unless we move him all over the park and destroy his career before it starts, just like Ruan and many before him.

      BardofAvon - 2011-06-16 21:15

      Yes Jason, what they did to poor Ruan was horrible. The last thing Lambie needs is to have his confidence shaken. As it is, for a flyhalf to outdo Morne is already one hell of a challenge.

      clarke - 2011-06-16 22:59

      Well firstly thats where morne played for the bulls a couple seasons ago when hougaard was flyhalf.... The choice to move Lambie to fullback, has nothing to do with lambies ability at flyhalf, it has everything to do with Ludik been rubbish and the team as a whole been much stronger with Michalak on the field as apposed to Ludik...I however think we might suffer defensively with Mcloud, Michalak and Meyer....I am not a wynand fan, but I can easily see him running straight in between bosman and michalak with ease.... I think the strongest sharks backline would look something like this: Mcloud, Lambie, JL Potgeiter, Jacobs, Mvovo + Pietersen on wings, and Terblanche at fullback, michalak should be benched, his value is in backup to 9+10+12

      Jason - 2011-06-17 12:38

      @Clarke - I like that back line! MUCH MUCH better. Terblanche's style of play suits FB much better than OC, and that way we can keep Lambie at FH, keep Michalak on the bench and keep Ludik and Bosman off the field.

  • Danie - 2011-06-16 19:59

    Why do you think Bakkies is starting

      Brannas - 2011-06-16 21:11

      Because he can

      Oupa Uiloe - 2011-06-17 02:22

      Oupa wil net graag vir al die Stormers se baie geluk, julle is loshande die grootste dose in wereldrugby

      Dowwe Duane - 2011-06-17 03:36

      @Oupa LOL, I'm no fan myself, but isn't that a bit harsh?

  • Oubaas - 2011-06-16 20:09

    So much for trust in Lambie - I can understand Smit on the bench ...why bother ...leave him @home Bulle by 13........Go Bulle

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-06-16 22:14

      al die Stormers kom ons vang bietjie gees voor die naweek, almal vat hande en ons sing lekker saam: "Ons is dom maar ons werk hard (en herhaal) "Ons is dom maar ons werk hard" (kom Duane, Kom Duane uit volle bors nou!) ONS IS DOM EN BEKERLOOS!!!

  • Met Uysh! - 2011-06-16 20:34

    Looks like a good squad. Would have started Lambie at 12 though.

  • Groot Bul - 2011-06-16 22:05

    I just like to say to both teams good luck for Saterday and really hope that rugby will be the winner and the ref must not spoil the game.Extra word I would be very glad if the Bulls can pull this one off I know its going to be touch but they have the BMT.

      Sh@rks Fever - 2011-06-16 22:58

      Good and modist Bulls supporter. I wish the same for both teams. If we win I will be over the moon. If we lose, well all I want is that the Sharks gave their best. THere's nothing worse than losing and know we played half hartedly.

      Marcell - 2011-06-17 05:22

      Dis nie te veel gevra nie. Dit gaan hard en taai wees. Hoop net Kaplan mors nie die wedstrys op nie! Mag die beste span wen!

      Rob Rabbit - 2011-06-17 08:01

      Good comment and gracious - just hope the result goes the other way. Enjoy the game.

      Hannes van der Linde - 2011-06-17 08:10

      May the best team win!! STORMEEERS!!

  • Yoni - 2011-06-16 22:21

    Thanks Plumtree, by putting this cheese-eating surrender monkey of a Frenchie in the team you have sealed the Sharks' coffin. Welcome at Fort Loftus, please enjoy you slay, I mean stay.

  • Schaun - 2011-06-16 22:44

    michalak and john smit, sit in spur, ligte gaan af,... john smit se "O F@K DA K@K MY OE NOU" .....michalak se "moet nie worry ou papsak ek het my walking stick gebring"

  • Sh@rks Fever - 2011-06-16 22:54

    I understand Plums decision behind this. Even though Lambie is our best fly half, Michelak was available and is a good fly half. He was afterall part of the 2008 team that won the currie cup. He has flair and will be unpredictable against the bulls. Lambie is just as a great fullback as he is a flyhalf. I say let's wait until the end of the game before the daggers come out. Would like to see both ALberts and Coetzee come on at the 50 min mark. One thing is for sure at the Sharks. We have good loosies.

  • Marcell - 2011-06-17 03:47

    I would have played him at lock.

  • RuckingFun - 2011-06-17 05:16

    very humble these bulls supporters i see.. cant wait till the sharks shock them on saturday!

  • SAFFA-CAT - 2011-06-17 06:28

    Morning all. MR Canada (Profile stealer: Dowwe Duane/Oupa Eiloe/Spier ect) Tedious, tedious, tedious. Most folk realise it is YOU posting under my and many others names. Continue with it old chap, whatever floats your dinghy.....

  • Roy - 2011-06-17 06:40

    Was under the impression that Michalak was put out to pasture long time ago.

  • BLOODY AGENT - 2011-06-17 09:02

    WPBEFONK,slow of mind i see,we all have been a victim of the profile poacher and we can see the difference between the real and fake wattie common comments

  • greenpea - 2011-06-17 11:14

    The thing you idiots are forgetting is that lambie is actually a fullback, thats where he started.. @ Clarke, I agree with your evaluation of the backs, thats exactly how I see it.. as a staunch Sharks supporter I seriously think we have a chance to win this game and perhaps go all the way, the boys are focused and mentally strong enough for the challenge, Sharks forever!

  • TheDuck - 2011-06-17 21:14

    I have had a great laugh reading these comments. I say Bulls by 15, I would have said more but I see they playing Bismark. Bosman is completely useless. I'm betting Stegman to give away 4 penalties. Bulls are clearly the form team at the moment. I do however feel for the Sharks. Last year this time they were on form but a bad start to the season cost them a place in the top 4. Now its top 6, this gives opportunity for teams who find rhythm late in the competition. Similar to Sharks last year. Rubbing salt in wounds. Congrats Bakkies on your 100th cap.

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