Same 15 for Sharks?

2014-03-20 00:00

SPRINGBOK lock Flip van der Merwe will once again captain the Bulls in the absence of the injured Pierre Spies when they take on the Sharks at Loftus on Saturday.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke drafted in Springbok Sevens star Sampie Mastriet on the right wing while former skipper Dewald Potgieter — back from Japan — will start at number eight.

These were the only changes made to the side that beat the Blues at Loftus two weeks ago, and they will look to continue on their recent run which has seen them win two of their last two games, having lost their first two.

Mastriet comes into the place of Akona Ndungane, who is still on compassionate leave following a family bereavement, while regular number eight Jono Ross will start the game among the replacements.

Ludeke said yesterday he was pleased with the depth that was available to him.

“We have always maintained that you need a squad to win this competition and I am pretty pleased about the depth we have in ours,” Ludeke was quoted by Sport24.

“Sampie has shown tremendous form with the Springbok Sevens team and brings a lot of pace into the backline and Dewald has Test match experience on top of being part of our system for many years,” he said.

Although Ndungane was still away, the Sharks confirmed to The Witness yesterday that his twin brother Odwa would resume training today. What part he plays in the game is still to be seen.

Sharks coach Jake White could be tempted to select the same team that did the business against the Queensland Reds last week when he names his squad this morning.

Winger JP Pietersen is in line to win his 100th Super Rugby cap and could get the nod for the trip to the Highveld to take on the three-time champions. With Ndungane only being available from today, White could go with the option of starting him on the bench for the trip to Loftus.

TEAMS

Sharks (Predicted): 15 SP Marais, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 S’bura Sithole, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Tera Mtembu, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Heimar Williams, 23 Odwa Ndungane

Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 J J Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Dewald Potgieter, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Flip vd Merwe (captain), 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling

Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Marcel vd Merwe, 18 Paul Willemse, 19 Jono Ross, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Handré Pollard, 22 Ulrich Beyers, 23 Morné Mellet

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