Sharks finally unleash the heavy artillery, Province coach opts for youth

2012-10-25 00:00

SHARKS coach John Plumtree last night changed half his pack and recalled four Springbok squad members for Saturday’s Currie Cup final against Western Province at King’s Park.

Plumtree has chosen his most experienced line-up in promoting flank Willem Alberts, lock Steven Sykes, prop Beast Mtawarira and Craig Burden off the bench.

They replace Jean Deysel, Jandré Marais, Dale Chadwick and Kyle Cooper in the starting line-up.

While Deysel, Marais and Cooper drop to the bench, and seem certain to see second-half action, the young Chadwick is the unlucky one to drop out of the 22-man squad.

Plumtree has named an unchanged backline, but this week has opted for four forwards and three backs on the bench. The experienced wing Odwa Ndungane, over his injury, returns to join the replacements.

Nine players who have been involved with the Boks this season are included in the starting line-up while four other former international players are on the bench.

And, down in Cape Town yesterday, Western Province coach Allister Coetzee surprised friend and foe in naming the untried Damian de Allende at inside centre for the final in Durban.

De Allende is one of six U21 players in Province’s squad of 22 and his inclusion is the only change to the Province starting line-up.

The 20-year-old has impressed this season, but hehas largely been used off the bench and on the wing.

He will now take over from the more experienced 24-year-old Marcel Brache who, in turn, had replaced the injured Springbok captain Jean de Villiers for the Currie Cup semi-final against the Golden Lions last Saturday.

Coetzee said that De Allende’s physical presence in the midfield was the decisive factor in his selection with the Province coach wanting to beef up the midfield. (Brache, at 1,91 metres and 92 kg, may find that surprising as he is taller and heavier than De Allende). Coetzee said that Brache also appeared jaded after a long season.

“We feel that the selection of Damian was the right move as we need to front up to the Sharks physically. He is a big guy, and a strong ball carrier. He also has good core skills as well. Whenever he has played for us he has made a massive impression.

“I know he is the right choice, and we had heavy pitch conditions in mind too when we made the selection. He may not be experienced, but in a final there is room for players who have to grow. He is the player we need for the conditions and the challenge we face.”

With the hamstrung Jean de Villiers also out attending yesterday’s Province practice, there was speculation that Coetzee might be trying to hoodwink the Sharks.

But he denied any possibility of a late midfield change.

“I don’t do that sort of thing, if I name a team that is the team that plays. Jean will be coming to Durban to watch the game but he won’t be playing in it.”

It was also thought that Coetzee would include Joe Pieteren at fullback, particularly as his lengthy kicking would have been useful if the game is played in the wet again.

But Coetzee has retained Gio Aplon at fullback — instead of switching him to wing — and Pietersen, an influential replacement at Ellis Park last Saturday, remains on the bench.

Former Springbok prop Deon Carstens and veteran Brok Harris are also named on the bench and Coetzee will start with an U21 front-row.

The Sharks defeated WP 43-27 at King’s Park last month when Coet­zee’s team finished the match with 12 players, after two red cards and a sin-binning late in the match. Coetzee said yesterday that his team would be on their best behavior in the final.

“We’ve spoken about discipline and we won’t get sucked into off-the-ball stuff. We won’t lose our cool. We want to give our halfbacks good quality ball to work.

“We must hold our own at the set piece,” said Coetzee.

TEAMS

Sharks: 15. Louis Ludik, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Tim Whitehead, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Pat Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Keegan Daniel (capt),7. Willem Alberts, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Anton Bresler, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Craig Burden, 1. Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Jandre Marais, 19. Jean Deysel, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Meyer Bosman, 22. Odwa Ndungane.

Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Don Armand, 6 Deon Fourie (c), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.

Replacements: 16 Deon Carstens, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Marcel Brache, 22 Joe Pietersen.

Kick-off: 5.00 pm.

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