Sharks must make up for Reds loss

2009-03-18 00:00

THE Sharks’ final assignment of their four-week tour of the Antipodes ends this weekend when they tackle the Western Force in Perth and the general sentiment is that the tour must finish with victory to complete a successful foray into New Zealand and Australian territory.

The general feeling in the squad is that reparations can and must be made to make up for the loss to the Reds in Brisbane last Saturday. With the Sharks looking forward to six home matches on their return to South Africa on Sunday, winning on Saturday will give them a boost ahead of the second half of the tournament.

The Western Force came back strongly to earn a draw against the Crusaders last week and return home after three weeks on the road (won, then lost, then drew) to Subiaco Stadium where they will fancy their chances against the Sharks, having won in their only previous encounter two years ago, 22-12.

Sharks coach John Plumtree has made four changes to last week’s starting fifteen, one of them rotational, as they look to end the tour on a positive note.

With the injury to Ruan Pienaar, who flew back to South Africa yesterday to undergo a scan for a full diagnosis of the medial ligament injury he sustained in the match against the Reds, Francois Steyn will take his place at flyhalf opening the door to centre Riaan Swanepoel to gain his first start for the Sharks. This is the first change to the starting backline in six matches.

With Swanepoel elevated to a place in the starting lineup, Monty Dumond, who joined the team on their arrival in Perth yesterday, will come into the match at 22 where he plays off the bench.

There is also the opportunity for Justin Downey to gain his first Sharks cap with the big loose forward named on the bench, making his debut should he play.

The final changes take place in the front row where last week’s Springboks are replaced by more Springboks — John Smit shifting from tighthead to hooker, Jannie du Plessis and Deon Carstens starting on either side of him, and Bismarck du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira reverting to the bench.

Kick-off is 12.45 pm on Saturday (SA time).

The Sharks: 15. Stefan Terblanche, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Adrian Jacobs, 12. Riaan Swanepoel, 11. JP Pietersen, 10. Francois Steynm 9. Rory Kockott, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Keegan Daniel, 6.

Jacques Botes, 5. Johann Muller (capt.), 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. John Smit, 1. Deon Carstens

Reserves: 16. Bismarck du Plessis, 17. Tendai Mtawarira, 18. Albert van den Berg, 19. Justin Downey, 20. Ross Cronje, 21. Monty Dumond, 22. Luzuko Vulindlu

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