Sharks coaches make five changes to team for WP clash

2013-09-05 00:00

THE rotational policy — rather than form — was a major consideration in selecting the Sharks’ Currie Cup team to face Western Province at Newlands on Saturday night.

The Sharks coaches have made five changes to the team that beat the Bulls last weekend and a number of in-form players, including man of the match and scrumhalf Charl McLeod, have been named on the bench.

While the coaches are delighted with young backs flyhalf Fred Zeilinga and centre Heimar Williams, both drop out of the starting line-up. Veteran Springbok flyhalf Butch James takes over from Zeilinga, while the talented and fit-again Tim Whitehead returns to the midfield.

Odwa Ndungane has aggravated his hamstring strain and is replaced by Sizo Maseko on the wing, and there are two new props, Ryno Gerber and Danie Mienie, taking over from Wiehahn Herbst and Dale Chadwick in the front row.

A number of players who were given their chance in the Bulls game, scrumhalf Cobus Reinach, hooker Craig Burden and Peet Marais, are given a second bite of the cherry as part of the overall plan.

The old adage of not tampering with a winning team has given way to the rotational policy, as backline coach Sean Everitt explained yesterday. “Butch [James] comes in for Fred [Zeilinga] in a purely rotational switch. Fred has done well over the last couple of weeks, but it is Butch’s turn to start and he enjoys playing at Newlands.

“Danie Mienie [loosehead] has been training hard with us for the last five weeks and deserves a start. And Rayno [Gerber] will come in at tighthead.”

Everitt said that Whitehead, a former WP player, had finally been cleared to play.

“He has played a lot at Newlands, so it’s good to have him back. Heimar [Williams] has filled in well over the last couple of weeks, but it will now be another opportunity for Tim. The Sharks have missed him this year.”

The decision to keep McLeod on the bench after he inspired last week’s win over the Bulls will raise eyebrows, but Everitt said the Sharks had two excellent scrumhalves.

“We need to develop both and keep them fit so we didn’t think about starting Charl.

“The Currie Cup is very important to us, but more than anything else at the moment we are just looking at our performances,” said Everitt.

“We are still growing as a group, which is not an excuse should things not go well, but we are very performance orientated at the moment.”

Louis Schreuder is back at scrumhalf for Western Province in the only change to the defending champions’ line-up. Schreuder replaces Nic Groom and will partner Kurt Coleman at halfback. Fit-again flyhalf Gary van Aswegen is on the bench.

TEAMS

Western Province: 15. Gio Aplon, 14. Gerhard van den Heever, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Cheslin Kolbe, 10. Kurt Coleman, 9. Louis Schreuder, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Deon Fourie (captain), 5. De Kock Steenkamp, 4. Michael Rhodes, 3. Pat Cilliers, 2. Tiaan Liebenberg, 1. Steven Kitshoff.

Replacements: 16. Scarra Ntubeni, 17. Brok Harris, 18. Gerbrandt Grobler, 19. Rohan Kitshoff, 20. Nic Groom, 21. Gary van Aswegen, 22. Michael van der Spuy

Sharks: 15. SP Marais, 14. Sizo Maseko, 13. Louis Ludik, 12. Tim Whitehead, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Butch James, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Jacques Botes (captain), 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Keegan Daniel, 5. Marco Wentzel, 4. Peet Marais, 3. Rayno Gerber, 2. Craig Burden, 1. Danie Mienie. Replacements: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Edwin Hewitt, 19. Justin Downey, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Fred Zeilinga, 22. Jaco van Tonder.

Referee: Craig Joubert. Kick-off: 7.10 pm.

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