Rory Kockott named ahead of Ruan Pienaar for Brumbies clash

2008-04-16 00:00

Sharks scrumhalf Rory Kockott has been named to start at scrumhalf ahead of Springbok Ruan Pienaar for the Sharks’ Super 14 match against the Brumbies on Saturday in Canberra

Coach Dick Muir said that while it was a case of rotation in selection, it was also “an opportunity for Rory”.

“Ruan has had three starts in a row and we are also looking at possibly using Ruan at flyhalf off the bench at some stage.”

Muir defended the selection of Francois Steyn at outside centre and said he was not to be blamed for the two tries that were leaked against the Highlanders.

“I think it was a combination between Waylon and Frans, a defensive error that wasn’t only Frans’s fault. Waylon was ahead of him and this caused the defensive line to be breached.”

Muir also confirmed that Steyn wants to play in the midfield.

“He is enjoying playing there and that’s where is happiest. Decision-making is a key element and I think he’s shown that either at 12 or 13 his decision-making is really good.”

Waylon Murray has been replaced by JP Pietersen on the wing after being given a wake-up call last week. With Steyn at centre, Waylon Murray, who was on the wing, loses out and drops to the bench.

Jannie du Plessis is waiting on a fitness test and is bracketed on the bench with Deon Carstens

With cooler conditions predicted for the Sharks match on Saturday, the Sharks are hoping to change their tactical approach.

The start in Durban in hot and humid conditions required a conservative game plan, but in cooler conditons and with a dry ball, the Sharks are hoping to run more with the ball.

“We’ve played according to the conditions and that’s worked for us,” said Muir, “and the backs showed signs of what they are capable of this past weekend.”

The Sharks have been encouraged by the prediction of good weather in Canberra (kick-off time is 11.40 am SA time) as they look to play an expansive game.

There were fitness concerns over captain and lock Johann Muller and flank Keegan Daniel, but both have been included i the starting line-up.

Sharks team: 15. Stefan Terblanche 14. Odwa Ndungane 13. Francois Steyn 12. Bradley Barritt 11. JP Pietersen 10. Frederic Michalak 9. Rory Kockott 8. Ryan Kankowski 7. Jacques Botes 6. Keegan Daniel 5. Johann Muller (captain) 4. Steven Sykes 3. BJ Botha 2. Bismarck du Plessis 1. Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16. Craig Burden 17. Jannie du Plessis/Deon Carstens 18. Albert van den Berg 19. AJ Venter 20. Ruan Pienaar 21. Waylon Murray 22. Adrian Jacobs.

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