Sharks without three Boks for derby

2012-07-05 00:00

THE Sharks, backed firmly against the wall, will be without three of their key Springboks for tomorrow night’s Super Rugby derby against the confident Bulls at King’s Park.

Fullback Pat Lambie, bruising flank Willem Alberts and lock Steven Sykes were yesterday all ruled out after failing fitness tests.

Louis Ludik, who has also battled injury this season, returns at fullback, while the talented Pieter-Stephanus du Toit, who played on the flank for the Baby Boks in the recent Junior World Cup final, takes over from Sykes at lock.

In a minor surprise, Springbok number eight Ryan Kankowski rather than Jean Deysel replaces Alberts. Kankowski’s inclusion at number eight has resulted in captain Keegan Daniel shifting to flank while Deysel will play off the bench.

In an unforced change in the backline, Springbok inside centre Frans Steyn, after an absence of three years, makes his comeback and takes over from Meyer Bosman. He will play outside flyhalf Freddie Michalak, who helped France to their overwhelming win over Argentina last month.

Sharks coach John Plumtree said the team faced injury problems, “but the replacements have to stand up”.

He pointed out that a number of teams were under pressure going into the final two rounds.

“We were under this sort of pressure when we came back from out tour Down Under and the players reacted positively.

“We had a gun to our heads then, we got on to a winning streak and then let ourselves down against the Lions,” he explained. “Clearly, when the gun is pointed straight between our eyes, we react better, which is a bit unfortunate.

“But this is a home game for us and we’re looking forward to a big crowd to help us out.

“We have a few worries, but there is plenty of character in this group and we have to dig deep on the weekend and get on top of this Bulls team that is riding pretty high at the moment.”

The match kicks off at 7.10 pm tomorrow and Jaco Peyper is the referee.

SHARKS TEAM

15 Louis Ludik, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Freddie Michalak, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Keegan Daniel (c), 5 Pieter-Stephanus du Toit, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Jandre Marais, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Jacobus Reinach, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Odwa Ndungane.

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