Marcell gets the nod

2014-05-30 00:00

SPRINGBOK flanker Marcell Coetzee made his expected return to the Sharks’ starting XV when the team to take on the Stormers in their Super Rugby clash at King’s Park was announced yesterday.

His inclusion was the only change made to the matchday 23 by director of rugby Jake White and the 23-year-old is expected to add plenty of firepower to the pack.

Coetzee was one of the standout players in Super Rugby prior to the shoulder injury he suffered during the clash against the Rebels on the first game of their overseas tour in Melbourne.

While White will be smiling about the fact that his team has been strengthened, opposite number Allister Coetzee will be without his star loose forward and experienced Springbok champion Schalk Burger.

The veteran flank has a neck injury and failed to recover in time, meaning the captaincy has also been surrendered to Duane Vermeulen.

The news will be a considerable boost to the Sharks and White, who said this week that Burger was a key part of the Stormers’ recent upturn in form.

“I have no doubt when he doesn’t play they’re a different team,” the Sharks boss, who mentored Burger during some key years of his career, said.

“He was the captain last week, they got four tries, he understands what he needs to get out of the players. I have no doubt when he’s on the field he gives a presence not only to his own players, but also the opposition.

“I’m sure in a lot of ways referees see him around, they know he’s there and they know what he wants to get out of his team.

“So I don’t think there can be any doubt about how important he is.

“Obviously while I don’t want to wish any ill on Schalk, it would be good for us if he wasn’t there.”

There are two changes for the Stormers in total. Burger is replaced by Siya Kolisi, while winger Kobus van Wyk, out with a wrist injury, has surrendered his place to Sailosi Tagicakibau.

Lock Manuel Carizza, flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis and uncapped prop Sti Sithole are added to the bench.

White is hoping their return to Durban will be a happy one as they look to close the first part of the campaign with victory. Teams break after this one for the June international break

It is also a final home match of the regular season for the Sharks, whose next one at King’s Park could possible only come in late July, depending on where they finish on the log.

They currently head the competition by five points from the Waratahs, although the Australians do have a game in hand.

“We’re very excited to be back home and back in front of our home supporters,” White added. “The nice thing is that after this week we get a break, so it’s all to play for.

“You can’t ask for much more than the fact that we’re still top of the table.”


Sharks team: SP Marais, JP Pietersen, S’bura Sithole, Paul Jordaan, Lwazi Mvovo, Frans Steyn, Cobus Reinach, Willem Alberts, Tera Mtembu, Marcell Coetzee, Stephan Lewies, Etienne Oosthuizen, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis (captain), Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: Kyle Cooper, Dale Chadwick, Lourens Adriaanse, Ryan Kankowski, Keegan Daniel, Charl McLeod, Tim Swiel, Heimar Williams.

Stormers team: Jaco Taute, Cheslin Kolbe, Juan de Jongh, Damian de Allende, Sailosi Tagicakibau, Kurt Coleman, Nic Groom, Duane Vermeulen (captain), Siya Kolisi, Nizaam Carr, Ruan Botha, Michael Rhodes, Pat Cilliers, Deon Fourie, Alistair Vermaak Replacements: Stephan Coetzee, Sti Sithole, Martin Dreyer, Jean Kleyn, Manuel Carissa, Dylon Frylinck, Demetri Catrakilis, Peter Grant.

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