Plumtree names unchanged squad ahead of Southern Kings clash

2013-03-07 00:00

IT is a tribute to the physical conditioning of the Sharks that Saturday night’s heavyweight contest against the Stormers produced no injuries and head coach John Plumtree yesterday named an unchanged squad for this weekend’s Super Rugby outing against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth.

A number of the Sharks described the 12-6 win over the Stormers as the most physical game they have played, yet all 22 players have been passed fit to face the Kings.

Plumtree has named an unchanged starting line-up and for the third successive week the Sharks will field the same 22-man squad.

The only change from the season opener — against the Cheetahs in Bloem­fontein — was on the flank where Jacques Botes and Jean Deysel swapped places.

Plumtree said that all the players had recovered from the many bumps and bruises. He said that he expects some of the injured players who have yet to play this year — Keegan Daniel, Willem Alberts, Tim Whitehead, Butch James and Dale Chadwick — to be ready by the end of the month.

“We hope to see Bismarck du Plessis [recovering from knee surgery] training in about four to five weeks with his return to play a little later, at around seven weeks. So he’s still a little way off.”

He said all the current players were in good shape.

“These derby games get the physical stuff up where you want: We’ve had two big, hard games now after a relatively quiet pre-season and the boys are feeling battle-hardened.”

He said that the focus had to remain on the next game rather than talking about rotating players.

“The season could all unravel in front of your eyes if you don’t maintain your standards and make sure we’re up for every game. You have put in an 80-minute performance each week. All the Super Rugby games are generally pretty tight and we’re expecting another tough one this weekend,” said Plumtree.

Sharks team: 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.

Kick-off: 7.10 pm.

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