Fred back in the mix for Sharks

2008-07-17 00:00

It was swings and roundabouts for Sharks coach John Plumtree yesterday as he welcomed back a couple of experienced players after losing others to injury.

The good news is that he has French World Cup flyhalf Frederic Michalak back in the mix, while prop Deon Carstens and lock Steve Sykes will boost the pack.

Michalak starts in place of Monty Dumond at flyhalf and, in the absence of Rory Kockott, he will be partnered by Scott Mathie at halfback.

The injury to Brad Barritt sees Andries Strauss and Waylon Murray linking up in midfield while wing Henno Mentz, after being overlooked against the Falcons last week, returns for Wesley Bodmer.

Sykes, now seen as a lock again rather than a flank, dislodges Albert van den Berg in the second row with Nikolai Blignaut joining the loose forwards.

The match kicks off at 5.05 pm tomorrow and the Sharks, who have not beaten the Free Staters in the Currie Cup since 2003, will have their hands full.

“This is a huge task for us,” said captain Johann Muller, in reference to his team’s record against the Free Staters. “But the boys are up for it and excited about the game.”

Sharks team:

15. Stefan Terblanche, 14. Chris Jordaan, 13. Waylon Murray, 12. Andries Strauss, 11. Henno Mentz, 10. Frederic Michalak, 9. Scott Mathie, 8. Keegan Daniel, 7. Nikolai Blignaut, 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Johann Muller (captain), 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Skipper Badenhorst, 1. Deon Carstens.

Replacements: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Robbie Harris, 18. Albert van den Berg, 19. Skholiwe Ndlovu, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Riaan Swanepoel, 22. Monty Dumond.

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