Sharks: unchanged side to face Pumas

2011-07-21 00:00

SHARKS coach John Plumtree has followed the maxim that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” in naming an unchanged team to face the Pumas in tomorrow night’s Currie Cup match in Nelspruit.

Captain Keegan Daniel and flyhalf Freddie Michalak have been cleared to play after missing practice this week, and Plumtree’s

starting line-up is the same as the one that took the field against the Blue Bulls at the weekend.

The only possible change is on the bench where prop Eugene van Staden, who was a late withdrawal from the Bulls game with a hamstring problem, has been bracketed with Julian Redlinghuys.

Plumtree is wary about taking on a fired-up Pumas line-up on their home turf.

“With the national coach pulling out close to 50 players ahead of the international season, obviously the bigger teams in the competition have been weakened,” said Plumtree.

“Teams like Griquas and the Pumas are certainly going to be competitive. The playing field in the Currie Cup this year is pretty even and we know there aren’t going to be any easy games.”

Plumtree said every game and point are important in chasing first prize of a home final.

“It’s a tough competition and there are going to be upsets right through the season.

For us, it’s about making sure we prepare well.”

The Sharks coach said the season’s goal is to finish in the top two and secure a home Currie Cup semi-final.

While he is delighted with the opening win over the Bulls, Plumtree said that there had been some problem areas.

One was the high number of errors made by his experienced midfield of Meyer Bosman and Marius Joubert.

“You could see Marius was rusty after spending only a week with us. He and Meyer were disappointed about the way they played but they will settle down together and improve.”

Plumtree, for the moment, has very few options in a number of positions and relief will only come after the Tri-Nations tour when a number of Springboks are expected to be released by coach Peter de Villiers for the home internationals in August.

Tomorrow ’s game kicks off at 7 pm and will not be televised.

Sharks team:

15 Stefan Terblanche, 14 Mark Richards, 13 Marius Joubert, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Louis Ludik, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Ross Skeate, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Dale Chadwick

Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Julian Redelinghuys/Eugene van Staden, 18 Jan Andre Marais, 19 Francois Kleinhans, 20 Jacobus Reinach, 21 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 22 Sibusiso Sithole

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