Plumtree names squad with seven Springboks for Cheetahs’ clash

2009-09-18 00:00

SHARKS coach John Plumtree has included seven current Springboks, including captain John Smit, in his squad of 22 for tomorrow’s Currie Cup game against the Free State Cheetahs at Absa Stadium.

The Springboks returned from their triumphant Tri-Nations tour on Monday night and those who are still willing and able have been included in the squad.

Three of them, Odwa Ndungane, prop Jannie du Plessis and number eight Ryan Kankowski , will start tomorrow while lurking on the bench are John Smit, Bismarck du Plessis, Adi Jacobs and Ruan Pienaar.

The Sharks are top of the Currie Cup and Plumtree is obviously reluctant to break their rhythm by making wholesale changes.

“The three in the starting line-up (Ndungane, Jannie du Plessis and Kankowski) have played Currie Cup rugby for us this season so there will be continuity,” said Plumtree.

The four on the bench have all played in recent Tri-Nations games but were happy to provide back-up off the bench because of the importance of tomorrow’s game,” he said.

“They have had plenty of rugby but they can rest up next week before we play the Leopards in Durban next Saturday,” he said.

Three other Springboks were not considered because of injury. Lock Johann Muller is seeing a specialist today about his ongoing problem with his arm, prop Beast Mtawarira is resting an Achilles tendon injury and wing JP Pietersen (hamstring) is two weeks away from full fitness.

“There is more depth in our squad, we are stronger in the front-row and we have more options with selections now that the Springboks are back,” said Plumtree.

“As far as our backline is concerned, things look a lot better than four months ago in the Super 14. The carrot of a Currie Cup semi-final is hanging in front of us, but we have to seize it properly this time.”

Plumtree has named Pienaar as back-up to Charl Mcleod at scrumhalf and Rory Kockott, an outstanding performer for the Sharks in recent seasons, drops out of the squad.

In the four changes to the team which beat the Blue bulls last weekend, Ndungane dislodges Chris Jordaan on the wing, centre Waylon Murray comes off the bench to replace the injured Riaan Swanepoel, Jannie du Plessis takes over from Pat Cilliers in the front-row while number eight Kankowski takes over from Keegan Daniel, who has not practised this week because of a thumb injury.

The match kicks off at 5.05 pm and Mark Lawrence will referee the game. Sharks: Stefan Terblanche (c), Odwa Ndungane, Waylon Murray, Andries Strauss, Lwazi Mvovo, Juan Hernandez, Charl McLeod, Ryan Kankowski, Jean Deysel, Jacques Botes, Albert van den Berg, Steven Sykes, Jannie du Plessis, Craig Burden, Deon Carstens.

Reserves: Bismarck du Plessis, John Smit, Alistair Hargreaves, Keegan Daniel, Ruan Pienaar, Monty Dumond, Adrian Jacobs .

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