Muir opts for brawn

2008-05-08 00:00

CHUNKY centre Adrian Jacobs and veteran Springbok lock Johan Ackermann have been named in the Sharks’ starting line-up for tomorrow afternoon’s decisive Super 14 clash against the Cheetahs at King’s Park.

Jacobs, regarded by coach Dick Muir as an invaluable impact player, has spent the Super 14 playing off the bench, but his consistent form is now rewarded with his first start of the season.

Muir will field a new midfield pairing, with Francois Steyn at inside centre to partner Jacobs.

The familiar Sharks midfield pair of Brad Barritt, who returns from injury after missing the last two games, and Waylon Murray are on the bench.

Ackermann, who had been put out to graze by the Sharks at the beginning of March, has been urgently recalled from retirement, and the 38-year-old lock will start in place of the injured Sharks captain Johann Muller.

AJ Venter, selected on the flank, takes over the captaincy.

Also returning from injury is Springbok Bismarck du Plessis, who takes over from Craig Burden, while lock Steven Sykes, over the ankle injury which cut short his overseas tour, is on the bench.

Muir is clearly expecting a tough forward struggle and the inclusion of Ackermann, Venter — instead of Keegan Daniel — and Du Plessis adds a hard edge to the Sharks pack. The Sharks coach has also named five forwards and two backs on the bench.

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has retained the entire 22-man squad that lost against the Highlanders last Friday night.

The Cheetahs pack contains two World Cup Springboks in captain Juan Smith and prop CJ van der Linde, and looks particularly well-equipped.

Certainly, their position close to the foot of the log is misleading and Muir, with every reason, regards them as a massive challenge.

The match kicks off at 3 pm tomorrow and the Sharks need to win with a bonus point to stay in the hunt for a semi-final berth.

TEAMS

Sharks:

Stefan Terblanche, Odwa Ndungane, Adrian Jacobs, Francois Steyn, JP Pietersen, Ruan Pienaar, Rory Kockott, Ryan Kankowski, AJ Venter (c), Jacques Botes, Johan Ackermann, Albert van den Berg, BJ Botha, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: Craig Burden, Jannie du Plessis, Steven Sykes, Jean Deysel, Keegan Daniel, Bradley Barritt, Waylon Murray.

Cheetahs:

Hennie Daniller, Eddie Fredericks, JW Jonker, Meyer Bosman, Jongi Nokwe, Conrad Barnard, Falie Oelschig, Duanne Vermeulen, Juan Smith (c), Heinrich Brussow, Barend Pieterse, Rory Duncan, CJ van der Linde, Adriaan Strauss, Wian du Preez.

Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Bees Roux, David de Villiers, Hendro Scholtz, Tewis de Bruyn, Bevin Fortuin, Hendrik Meyer.

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