Plum looks to unleash Boks on Bulls later

2012-10-19 00:00

SHARKS coach John Plumtree has resisted the temptation to rush back all his Springboks for the Currie Cup semi-final against the Blue Bulls at King’s Park tomorrow and three of them will be on the bench.

Plumtree has included all seven of his current Springbok squad members in the match 22, but three of them, prop Beast Mtawarira, flank Willem Alberts and hooker Craig Burden, are named on the bench.

The four Boks included in the starting line-up are wing Lwazi Mvovo, flyhalf Pat Lambie, flank Marcell Coetzee and tighthead Jannie du Plessis.

Lambie and Coetzee, a late inclusion for Jacques Botes, started against Griquas last Friday while Mvovo replaced the injured Odwa Ndungane early in the game and Du Plessis and Burden were late replacements. Test players Alberts and Mtawarira were rested last week.

Ndungane and Botes failed fitness tests yesterday, while lock Steven Sykes (calf) is still doubtful and bracketed with Peet Marais on the bench.

Plumtree has followed the Bulls’ line in naming five forwards (including an entire front-row) and two backs on the bench.

Plumtree was concerned that too many changes would break the continuity in the team, but he is also looking to his many Boks on the bench — there are six who have been involved at national level with prop Wiehahn Herbst the only exception — to make a massive impact in the second half.

Plumtree admitted he was spoilt for choice in some areas and selection was a fine balancing act.

“There were a lot of choices, but I don’t think we could ignore what the guys have achieved while the Springboks were away. But we also couldn’t ignore the importance of the Boks’ experience.

“Everyone is just really excited.”

Plumtree has also stayed with young Jaco Reinach ahead of Charl McLeod as his first-choice scrumhalf.

Plumtree, for the second time in three months, and Reinach, were yesterday named as Currie Cup coach and player of the month.

“My work is made so much easier, and successful, with the input and hard work from my assistants, Grant Bashford and Hugh Reece-Edwards, along with the entire support and medical staff,” Plumtree said.

“This has been a tough campaign for us, but we have endured.”

Sharks captain Keegan Daniel said his players were gearing up for the most physical of battles.

“There is plenty of motivation. We’ve spent the last 10 weeks getting to this position, we’ve done pretty well to end top of the log and we have a home semi and the opportunity to host the final.

“The carrot is out there and we have the opportunity to go and grab it if we want it.” Kick-off is at 4.30 pm.

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