No more breakdown blues

2013-02-28 00:00

SHARKS coach John Plumtree has made just one change, and beefed up his pack, ahead of Saturday night’s Super Rugby derby clash against the Stormers at King’s Park.

Plumtree has included the 112-kg Jean Deysel in the backrow and he takes over from the mobile Jacques Botes in the only change to the starting line-up which did duty against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein at the weekend.

Plumtree was concerned about the pace of the Cheetahs outside backs last Saturday and Botes was highly effective as an open side flank. But the opening quarter against the Stormers will be fought on the gainline and Plumtree is looking to Deysel, a driving, confrontational forward, to combat the Stormers’ physical back row of Rynhardt Elstadt, Siya Kolisi and Duane Vermeulen,

Deysel, a player in the Willem Alberts mould, will play on the blindside with Springbok Marcell Coetzee the open side flank.

With Lwazi Mvovo, Meyer Bosman, Deysel and Craig Burden over the bumps they received in Bloemfontein, Plumtree has named an unchanged squad of 22.

The Stormers have not been as fortunate with Springbok Jaco Taute out with a groin injury and replaced at fullback by Joe Pietersen.

Coach Allister Coetzee was also expecting to have Springbok centre Juan de Jongh back for the Durban trip, but he has again been sidelined by a hamstring strain.

Coetzee has resisted the temptation to rush back Peter Grant in place of the out-of-touch Elton Jantjies at flyhalf. Grant returned last week from Japan and will play off the bench.

“Peter’s conditioning is 100%; his match fitness and personal fitness are great. The big thing was for him to get out on the training park this week, get the synergy back and understand our needs.

“It’s great to have him back in the team environment and Peter’s been very supportive of Elton as well.”

Jantjies had a poor day with the boot at Loftus last Friday, but the Stormers now have back-up with Pietersen starting and Grant among the replacements.

Coetzee has made one unforced change with Frans Malherbe starting in the front-row in place of Springbok and former Sharks prop Pat Cilliers.

Plumtree said that the Stormers had two talented flyhalves in Jantjies and Grant.

“We’ve had problems with Peter Grant in the past and he’s played really well against us. But Elton Jantjies has also hurt us and both are very good rugby players.

“At the end of the day, we can’t focus on what their selections are. We need to make sure we get our bits and pieces together. We will worry about what we need to do, rather than what will hit us from their side.”

Plumtree is looking for an improvement at the breakdown after the Sharks coughed up too much possession in Bloemfontein.

“We were a bit clumsy at the breakdown. We would secure the ball comfortably and then it would somehow pop out the side. A couple of times we were short of numbers [at the breakdown] and got turned over but at times we were poor carrying the ball into contact. “The Stormers hit you hard, so you need to make sure you maintain possession. We’ve worked on that in training and it’s a big focus. You need to keep the ball.”

TEAMS

Sharks:15. Louis Ludik, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Francois Steyn (captain), 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Anton Bresler, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Craig Burden, 1. Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Meyer Bosman, 22. Odwa Ndungane.

Stormers: 15. Joe Pietersen, 14. Gio Aplon, 13. Jean de Villiers (captain), 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Duane Vermeulen (vice-captain), 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Andries Bekker, 4. De Kock Steenkamp, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Deon Fourie, 1. Steven Kitshoff.

Replacements: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. Pat Cilliers, 18. Don Armand, 19. Nizaam Carr, 20. Louis Schreuder, 21. Peter Grant, 22. Gerhard van den Heever

Kick-off: 7.10 pm. Referee: Jonathan Kaplan.

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