Butch surprisingly in match

2013-08-08 00:00

Earlier in the week, the Sharks’ new coaches had said that they were not expecting James to be fit to start tomorrow.

James was suspended for a dangerous tackle in the Sharks’ penultimate Super Rugby game against the Bulls at Loftus on July 6 but, as CEO John Smit pointed out on Monday, the ban was for four weeks and not four matches and he would be available to play against Griquas if fit.

James only returned to training on Monday afternoon and it was expected that a slight calf strain would delay his return by a week. But coaches Brad Macleod-Henderson and Sean Everitt are satisfied that James is fit, and 20-year-old rookie Fred Zeilinga will play off the bench tomorrow.

The 2012 SA Schools wing Sizo Maseko, the two locks, Marco Wentzel and Edwin Hewitt, and replacement tighthead Rayno Gerber also play their first Currie Cup games for the Sharks.

The coaches have mixed old and new. Springbok wing Odwa Ndungane, as expected, is now at fullback and joins fellow-veterans James and Wentzel in the starting line-up. Maseko, just 20, takes the place of the injured S’bura Sithole, while the 23-year-old Westville High product Brynard Stander is preferred to the more experienced Jacques Botes and Tera Mtembu on the flank.

Centre Tim Whitehead and prop Dale Chadwick, who spent the Super Rugby campaign on the sidelines, return from serious injury.

Many of the selections are similar to those made by discarded head coach John Plumtree. Keegan Daniel, in spite of a patchy Super Rugby campaign, retains the captaincy, Charl Macleod is again preferred to Cobus Reinach at scrumhalf, Louis Ludik is at outside centre rather than fullback and Kyle Cooper retains the hooking berth ahead of Craig Burden.

Griquas coach Pote Human has named four new caps in his team. Lock Hilton Lobberts, centre Howard Mnisi, wing Nico Scheepers and fullback Gouws Prinsloo will all make their debut tomorrow.

Prinsloo has joined the side after playing for the Sharks in the Vodacom Cup.

“We have managed to retain the core of the group which played in the Vodacom Cup,” Human said.

“The absences of guys like Justin Downey, Edwin Hewitt [both to the Sharks] and Willie le Roux [to the Boks] will be felt but we have enough talented players to fill that void.”

Sharks: 15. Odwa Ndungane, 14. Sizo Maseko, 13. Louis Ludik, 12. Tim Whitehead, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Butch James, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Keegan Daniel (captain), 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Brynard Stander, 5. Marco Wentzel, 4. Edwin Hewitt, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Dale Chadwick. Replacements: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Rayno Gerber, 18. Peet Marais, 19. Tera Mtembu, 20. Cobus Reinach, 21. Fred Zeilinga, 22. Jaco van Tonder.

Griquas: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 JP Nel, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 PJ Vermeulen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Jacques Coetzee, 8 Burger Schoeman, 7 Jaco Nepgen, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Ligtoring Landman, 4 Hilton Lobberts, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Ryno Barnes (captain), 1 Steph Roberts. Replacements: 16 Matt Dobson, 17 Nick Schonert, 18 Jonathan Adendorf, 19 Carel Greeff, 20 Marnus Hugo, 21 Du Randt Gerber, 22 Rocco Jansen.

Kick-off: 7.10 pm. Referee; Jason Jaftha.

There will be no charge for women (on Women’s Day tomorrow) and children.

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