Joubert included in Sharks

2011-10-28 00:00

FORMER Springbok centre Marius Joubert has recovered well from his abdominal injury and Sharks coach John Plumtree has included him in an unchanged starting line-up for tomorrow evening’s Currie Cup final against the Golden Lions at Ellis Park.

Plumtree has made just one change to the match 22 with Springbok lock Alistair Hargreaves, out in the cold in recent weeks, included on the bench with Jacques Botes making way.

Joubert was in serious doubt at the start of the week but team doctor Ewoudt van der Linde told The Witness yesterday that the veteran centre “is looking good”.

Van der Linde, speaking from Sun City where the Sharks have been based since Wednesday, said that Joubert was in positive mood.

“He trained very well this morning and it looks very promising. We’ll have a look at the captain’s practice tomorrow, but I’m certain he will be fit and ready.”

Van der Linde said there were no other injury concerns ahead of the final.

Botes, who came off the bench to play in his 100th Currie Cup game against Free State in last weekend’s semi-final, is unlucky to miss out on the final. The busy flank leads the Sharks’ try-scoring list (eight tries) this season but the return of Willem Alberts (from the RWC) and Ryan Kankowski (from injury) have cost him his place.

With a flank, in Jean Deysel, playing at lock, Plumtree is obviously concerned that the Sharks are short of lineout options and has included the tall Hargreaves on the bench.

Hargreaves has been nursing a back injury, but Plumtree did say earlier this month that he had dropped the former Springbok after he lost form and the former South African junior captain has the chance to end a disappointing season on a triumphant note.

Young Marcell Coetzee, who has shown excellent form in his debut season, is the loose-forward replacement tomorrow evening.

The Sharks will start with 13 past and present internationals — scrumhalf Conrad Hoffman and lock Ross Skeate are the exceptions — including seven Rugby World Cup Springboks. They also have three more former Boks on the bench in Lwazi Mvovo, Adi Jacobs and Hargreaves.

The Lions, in contrast, have the younger but more settled squad with only three players capped at international level. Recent signing from WP, prop CJ van der Linde, and Butch James, named on the bench, were with the Boks at the RWC in New Zealand while former Test flank Wikus van Heerden is in the second row.

Van Heerden said it was a welcome change to be rewarded for the hard work of the season.

“The great thing is that we are not a young group anymore; we went through a whole grooming process through Super 15 and we are in our second year of Currie Cup,” he said.

“Butch [James] mentioned on the field today that we need to play the game only on Saturday and not get ahead of ourselves.”

Coach John Mitchell, as he has done all season, said the Lions would not dwell too much on what the opposition would bring to the match, but would rather focus on what they needed to do to get the job done.

“We are just focusing on our own performance and clearly we have total confidence in our forward pack and team,” Mitchell said.

“Right at this moment you don’t change a lot. All our work is done  so we’ve just focused on being more accurate …”

The final kicks off at 5.30pm

TEAMS

Sharks:

15. Patrick Lambie, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Stefan Terblanche, 12. Marius Joubert, 11. JP Pietersen, 10. Frederic Michalak, 9. Conrad Hoffmann, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Keegan Daniel (captain), 5. Ross Skeate, 4. Jean Deysel, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Eugene van Staden, 18. Alistair Hargreaves, 19. Marcell Coetzee, 20. Ross Cronje, 21. Adrian Jacobs, 22. Lwazi Mvovo

Golden Lions:

15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Doppies la Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 CJ Van der Linde.

Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse/JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Warren Whiteley, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar/Jaco Kriel, 20 Butch James, 21 Dylan des Fountain, 22 James Kamana.

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