Hooker Graig Burden gets his Super Rugby start for injury-hit Sharks

2012-04-05 00:00

THE Sharks have been struck by injuries ahead of tomorrow’s Super Rugby outing against the Hurricanes with Odwa Ndungane flying home and Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis playing only a limited role off the bench.

Coach John Plumtree has also opted against rushing back flyhalf Pat Lambie (cracked wisdom tooth) and he will return against the Blues in Auckland next weekend.

Ndungane, the busy Sharks wing, suffered a groin strain at training on Tuesday and he is returning to Durban for treatment. Scrumhalf Conrad Hoffman, back from injury, is joining the tour squad as his replacement.

Louis Ludik will replace him on the wing in the only change to a backline which stuttered on attack, but produced a brave defensive effort against the Brumbies last Saturday.

Ludik’s place on the bench will be taken by either Marius Joubert or Paul Jordaan.

The in-form and involved hooker Bismarck du Plessis (muscle strain) also suffered a training pitch injury and, while he has been passed fit to play, Plumtree has decided to rest him initially and use him as a second-half replacement.

Du Plessis has played a full 80 minutes in every one of the Sharks’ six games and the energetic Craig Burden, who has spent most of his career on the bench and in the shadow of John Smit and Du Plessis, gets a rare start in a Super Rugby game.

Plumtree, in making just the two forced changes to the team which beat the Brumbies 29-26, has kept faith with Frederic Michalak at flyhalf with Meyer Bosman remaining on the bench.

The Hurricanes also suffered a setback yesterday when All Black number eight Victor Vito was ruled out with a calf muscle tear. Flank Faifili Levave will take his place in the backrow.

Coach Mark Hammett has reshuffled his backrow with Jack Lam shifting to the blindside with fellow flank Karl Lowe to hold his place on the openside after returning from injury last weekend.

Hammett said he was delighted to have the experienced former All Black lock Jason Eaton back from injury. Eaton missed last weekend’s game when the Cheetahs stunned the Hurricanes with their second-half comeback win..

“He’s calm and he’s a steady influence on the rest of the group,” said Hammttt, adding Eaton would also improve the Hurricanes’ lineout.

TEAMS

Hurricanes – 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Faifili Levave, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Jack Lam, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 James Broadhurst, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben May.

Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Michael Bent, 18 Mark Reddish, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Chris Eaton, 21 Tusi Pisi, 22 Charlie Ngatai.

Sharks – 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Louis Ludik, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (c), 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Jandre Marais, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Dale Chadwick.

Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Jacques Botes, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Marius Joubert/Paul Jordaan

Weekend fixtures (home team first, SA times):

Today:

Rebels vs Blues, 11.40 am.

Tomorrow:

Hurricanes vs Sharks 9.35 am

Reds vs Brumbies, 11.40 am.

Force vs Chiefs 1.40 pm.

Saturday

Highlanders vs Stormers 9.35 am

Cheetahs vs Lions 3 pm.

Bulls vs Crusaders 5.05 pm.

Bye: Waratahs

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