Pienaar to start at scrumhalf

2009-09-24 00:00

SHARKS head coach John Plumtree has mixed and matched in making six changes to his starting line-up for tomorrow night’s Currie Cup match against the Leopards at Absa Stadium.

Plumtree has included three current Springboks, scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, Ryan Kankowski and Jannie du Plessis, in the starting line-up while Adi Jacobs and Bismarck du Plessis will play off the bench.

Bok captain John Smit and Odwa Ndungane are being given the weekend off and wing JP Pietersen, loosehead prop Beast Mtawarira and lock Johann Muller were not considered because of injury.

The backline changes to the team that started against Free State see wing Luzuko Vulindlu take over from Ndungane, who has been battling with injury, while Pienaar replaces scrumhalf Charl McLeod, who drops out of the match 22 as Rory Kockott rejoins the bench.

Among the forwards, Patric Cilliers is at loosehead and Alistair Hargreaves starts at lock with regulars Deon Carstens and Steven Sykes given a rare break and dropping to the bench. Hargreaves, injured early in the Super 14, gets his first start of the Currie Cup season after playing off the bench over the past fortnight.

Hooker Skipper Badenhorst and flank Michael Rhodes take over from Craig Burden and Jean Deysel, who both picked up injuries against Free State.

Plumtree has named a particularly powerful bench, which includes three Boks (Bismarck du Plessis, Deon Carstens and Adi Jacobs) along with Sharks regulars Steven Sykes, Keegan Daniel and Rory Kockott ,while Monty Dumond will cover fullback and flyhalf.

Anything less than five points will be considered a disaster for the Sharks, who have a one-point lead over Western Province on the log and need maximum points from their last three games to keep their noses in front.

The match kicks off at 7.10 pm tomorrow (SS2) and Jonathan Kaplan is the referee.

SHARKS TEAM: 15 Stefan Terblanche (c), 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Juan Hernandez, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Albert van den Berg, 4 Alistair Hargreaves, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Skipper Badenhorst, 1 Patric Cilliers.

Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Deon Carstens, 18 Steven Sykes, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 Rory Kockott, 21 Monty Dumond, 22 Adrian Jacobs.

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