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    Du Preez: Reinach No 1 scrumhalf in SA

    2017-03-31 13:04

    Durban - Saturday's South African Super Rugby derby between the Lions and Sharks at Ellis Park is the game of the weekend. 

    Both sides have won four out of five in the competition this year and the race for conference supremacy and a home quarter-final is very much on.

    The Lions are still considered the best team in South Africa, but the Durbanites are desperate to show that they have closed the gap. 

    The battle at flyhalf between Springbok Elton Jantjies and 19-year-old Curwin Bosch is enticing in itself, but just before kick-off there will be another special moment as Sharks scrumhalf Cobus Reinach leads the side out for what will be his 50th Super Rugby cap. 

    The scrumhalf battle is also an intriguing one, given that Reinach will on Sunday form part of Allister Coetzee's Springbok training camp in Stellenbosch while the Lions' Faf de Klerk has been overlooked. 

    But Sharks coach Robert du Preez is not surprised at all to see Reinach in the Bok mix.

    "Cobus is a very good 9 ... the number one 9 in the country," he said from Durban this week.

    "We know that he'll just get better every week. He's a stalwart. He's been with this union for eight years and he's a fantastic guy to have in our set-up."

    However, Reinach's potential Springbok participation this year will be short-lived, at best. 

    He is off to the Northampton Saints in England at the end of the Super Rugby season, and with SA Rugby's new policy stating that overseas-based players with fewer than 30 Test caps will not be available for Bok selection, Reinach will have to wait for 2019 before he can be called up again.

    That new policy kicks in on July 1, meaning that Reinach would be able to play in the three Tests against France in June.

    But, only in World Cup years will Coetzee will be able to select whoever he wants, irrespective of where they are based, meaning that Reinach would once again be available.

    "Personally, I think it's a huge loss," Du Preez said of Reinach's impending unavailability for the Boks.

    Meanwhile, there is also a start this weekend for Garth April, who replaces Clement Poitrenaud at fullback. 

    April made a name for himself during the first half of last year's Super Rugby at flyhalf, where a string of good performances made him the third-choice flyhalf in Coetzee's first ever Bok squad, 

    "Garth I thought did really well when he came on on Saturday," Du Preez said of his bench performance against the Cheetahs.

    "It's been a long, tough road for Garth. He's in a great space mentally and we're very happy with him getting a start."

    Poitrenaud's omission also means there is a potential Super Rugby debut for Inny Radebe, who is on the bench against the Lions. 

    "We're bringing Inny onto the bench and he's very happy about that ... we're all are," said Du Preez.

    "He had a really good game against Border in the friendly last week and based on that I think he's ready to play."

    Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:15.

    Teams:

    Lions

    15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Harold Vorster, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen

    Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Jacques Nel, 23 Dillon Smit

    Sharks

    15 Garth April, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Tera Mtembu (captain), 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Thomas du Toit 
     
    Substitutes: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Inny Radebe, 23 Jeremy Ward

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