Sharks to be at full strength for Lions

2008-09-22 00:00

JOHN Plumtree is expected to make as many as six changes to his starting line-up for Saturday’s Currie Cup rugby match against the Lions at Ellis Park.

The Sharks have to beat the Lions and the Griquas to ensure they retain top spot on the log. This will afford them home ground advantage for the semi-finals and, if they win, the final.

Plumtree could have close to his full strength side available, though prop Tendai Mtawarira, who has been troubled by a groin injury, faces a fitness test.

Stefan Terblanche, Odwa Ndungane and Frederic Michalak in the backline, and forwards Jacques Botes, Bismarck du Plessis and, if he is fit, Mtawarira should be included.

The most testing selections could be in midfield — where Plumtree has a choice of Boks Francois Steyn and Adrian Jacobs, Brad Barritt and Waylon Murray — while he also has to choose between Keegan Daniel and Ryan Kankowski at number eight.

The talented Springbok Kankowski, one of the Sharks’ most consistent performers in the Super 14, but sidelined for five weeks by injury in the Currie Cup, was quiet against the Falcons while Daniel has been in lively form in recent weeks.

Plumtree could field an all-international backline and start with the Bok front-row of Mtawarira and the Du Plessis brothers.

The match kicks off at 5.05 pm on Saturday.

Possible squad: Stefan Terblanche, Odwa Ndungane, Adrian Jacobs, Francois Steyn, JP Pietersen, Frederic Michalak, Ruan Pienaar, Ryan Kankowski, Jean Deysel, Jacques Botes, Johann Muller (c), Steven Sykes, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis and Beast Mtawarira.

Replacements: Skipper Badenhorst, Patric Cilliers, Deon Carstens (if fit), Albert van den Berg, Keegan Daniel, Rory Kockott and Waylon Murray.

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