Burly Alberts called in for Stormers friendly

2010-01-29 00:00

SHARKS coach John Plumtree has replaced Springbok Ryan Kankowski with former Lions number eight, Willem Alberts, for tonight’s Super 14 friendly against the Stormers at Newlands.

The Sharks’ contract with the burly Alberts has been disputed by the Lions, and the SA Rugby Union are to hold a disciplinary hearing to resolve the ongoing squabble. But, by selecting Alberts for tonight’s friendly, it is clear that Plumtree is confident he will be cleared to play in the Super 14 opener against the Chiefs in Durban on February 13.

The replacement of the athletic Kankowski by the more physical Alberts is not the only surprise in the Sharks’ line-up, as Plumtree tests his options in the squad. Patrick Lambie, who was an outstanding performer for the Sharks U21 side last year, has been selected ahead of veteran fullback Stefan Terblanche, while Andries Strauss, in the absence of the injured Adi Jacobs, is preferred to Riaan Swane­poel at inside centre. Boks J.P. Pietersen an Odwa Ndungane are to start on the wings.

With new signing Steve Meyer only having a day with the Sharks squad since arriving back from Perpignan, Plumtree has named him on the swollen, 12-man bench, and Monty Dumond starts again at flyhalf.

Plumtree is also experimenting and rotating his players in the pack. Jannie du Plessis, usually a tighthead, is named at loosehead ahead of Beast Mtawarira, and alongside hooker Bismarck du Plessis and captain John Smit.

Gerhard Mostert, another new signing from the Lions, is at lock in place of Steve Sykes and alongside Johann Muller, while Keegan Daniel, Jean Deysel and Alberts complete the backrow in the absence of the injured Jacques Botes and Kankowski.

Still missing from the Sharks squad are Ruan Pienaar, Louis Ludik and Deon Carstens, who are all recovering from recent knee surgery.

The Sharks, following their limp display against the Force in their opener friendly on Tuesday night, need a strong, confident showing in this final “official” warm-up game to the Super 14. They will certainly be given a rough ride by the Stormers, who beat a se­cond-string Force side by 50 points a week ago, and now have Bok flank Schalk Burger back to lead the side.

The Stormers, who also have the vocal Newlands crowd at their backs, have been boosted by the signing of two world-class backs in Jaque Fourie and Bryan Habana. They certainly look the more settled combination, but it is the quality of the Sharks’ rugby rather than the final result which will be of principal concern to Plumtree.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said the Sharks will be far stronger than they were against the Force.

“We’re not going to be deceived by that performance,” he said. “We know what our goals are, and we also know how things can change in a South African derby. It’s going to be hard and physical, a … different ball game.”

TEAMS:

Stormers

15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Francois Louw, 6, Schalk Burger (c), 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Wicus Blaauw.

Reserves: Deon Fourie, JC Kritzinger, Eusebio Guinazu, Anton van Zyl, Pieter Myburgh, Pieter Louw, Bolla Conradie, Lionel Cronje, Sireli Naqelevuki, Frikkie Welsh, Fabien Juries.

Sharks

15 Patrick Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Odwa Ndungane, 10 Monty Dumond, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Gerhard Mostert, 4 Johann Muller, 3 John Smit (c), 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Jannie du Plessis.

Reserves: Stefan Terblanche, Luzuko Vulindlu, Riaan Swanepoel, Lwazi Mvovo, Ryan Kankowski, Steven Sykes, Alistair Hargreaves, Craig Burden, Tendai Mtawarira, Charl McLeod, Steve Meyer, Patric Cilliers.

Referee: Craig Joubert

Kick-off: 7 pm

TV: SuperSport 1 (from 6 pm)

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