JP on wing as Plum looks to tackle inconsistencies

2012-05-03 00:00

JP PIETERSEN is back on the wing and coach John Plumtree has included the exciting Springbok Sevens player Paul Jordaan at centre in the Sharks team to take on the Highlanders in the Super Rugby game at King’s Park on Saturday night.

Pietersen, a Springbok wing, was switched to outside centre at the start of the season as Plumtree looked for solutions to his 2011 midfield problems.

The tall Pietersen has impressed with his strength and high workrate at centre, but Plumtree is hoping to have the best of both worlds by including the talented Jordaan and Pietersen in the same backline.

The 20-year-old Jordaan has played in three games for the Sharks, all off the bench, earlier this season, and this will be his first Super Rugby start.

Plumtree, running out of patience with a team that has played well only in patches, has made five changes — at fullback, wing, centre, loosehead prop and flank — to the team which started against the Chiefs.

Fullback Riaan Viljoen has, like the team, blown hot and cold and he is dropped, with Louis Ludik moving from the wing to take over from him and allowing Pietersen to return to number 14.

Jordaan joins Tim Whitehead in the midfield while Beast Mtawarira, back to full fitness, is back at loosehead, allowing Dale Chadwick to have a break after nine successive outings.

In the final change, young Marcell Coetzee replaces Willem Alberts on the flank.

Plumtree, as he pointed out this week, has suddenly found himself with six backrow forwards squabbling over three places.

While captain Keegan Daniel, youngster Marcell Coetze and veteran Jacques Botes have been involved in the 22-man squad from the start of the season, three other loose forwards, Alberts, Jean Deysel and Ryan Kankowski, have been battling injury.

“Marcell Coetzee and Keegan Daniel have been outstanding this season,” Plumtree said, “and the others are fighting for a place in the starting line-up.

Botes started against the Chiefs and Plumtree, pleased with his form, has retained him.

But Plumtree has been less impressed with the form of Alberts, perhaps because he has not fully recovered from his shoulder injury, and he has now left him out of the 22-man squad with Jean Deysel playing off the bench

“Jean Deysel is coming back from a nasty injury but he played well for Sharks XV against the Pampas XV in Stellenbosch last weekend,” said Plumtree.

Another returning from an extended break (for a broken thumb) is number eight Kankowski. He played for an hour in Stellenbosch and he joins Deysel on the bench on Saturday night.

“Ryan did all right in his first game, but ultimately they can’t all play and selection has been made according to the needs of the team and the form of the individual players,” said Plumtree.

Jannie du Plessis, under an injury cloud, and Wiehahn Herbst have been bracketed at tighthead prop.

The game kicks off at 5.05 pm on Saturday.

SHARKS TEAM

15 Louis Ludik, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis/Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Jannie du Plessis/Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Ryan Kankowski, 21 Frederic Michalak, 22 Meyer Bosman.

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