Steyn back for Sharks

2008-05-22 00:00

Sydney — Francois Steyn is back at inside centre, but BJ Botha will have no part in the match when the Sharks take on the Waratahs in their Super 14 semi-final battle here tomorrow.

Brad Barritt has to make room for Steyn, despite a fine all-round performance against the Chiefs last week.

Botha has not recovered from his calf injury, and the Sharks will have Springbok Jannie du Plessis at tighthead and Deon Carstens as substitute prop.

Steyn’s inclusion provides extra punch to the Durban side. His ability to land long-distance drop-goals, in particular, makes him a potent weapon in play-off matches.

He stunned the Wallabies when he goaled one from far out in Cape Town last year, and Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie admitted yesterday that they "briefly" discussed Steyn’s kicking ability.

"We have not really had issues with poor discipline this year," McKenzie said. "We conceded fewer penalties than anyone else.

"We realise that Steyn can goal penalties from anywhere. And regardless of whether he plays or not, the Sharks have good goal kickers.

"That’s what semi-finals revolve around. You have to make sure you’re playing in the right part of the ground. I feel we’re well-equipped for this occasion," McKenzie said.

The Sharks have included Tongan star Epi Taione among five forwards and only two backs on the bench.

This indicates they plan to ensure that they do not come up short in the forward exchanges the way they did against the Waratahs earlier this year.

McKenzie has made two changes to the team that beat the Reds last week. Centre Rob Horne is back and Adam Freier takes over at hooker from injured Tatafu Polata-Nau. They replace Matt Carraro and Al Manning, who will be on the bench.

"The team for Saturday is the one with the best combinations and it has the most experience that we have had this year," McKenzie explained.

The teams:

Sharks: Stefan Terblanche, Odwa Ndungane, Adrian Jacobs, Francois Steyn, JP Pietersen, Ruan Pienaar, Rory Kockott, Ryan Kankowski, AJ Venter, Jacques Botes, Johann Muller (capt), Steven Sykes, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.

Substitutes: Craig Burden, Deon Carstens, Albert van den Berg, Jean Deysel, Epi Taione, Bradley Barritt and Waylon Murray .

Waratahs: Sam Norton-Knight, Lachie Turner, Rob Horne, Tom Carter, Lote Tuqiri, Kurtley Beale, Luke Burgess, Wycliff Palu, Phil Waugh (capt), Rocky Elsom, Dan Vickerman, Dean Mumm, Al Baxter, Adam Freier, Benn Robinson.

Substitutes: Timana Tahu, Matt Carraro, Brett Sheehan, David Lyons, Will Caldwell, Matt Dunning and Al Manning.

Television: Live coverage on M-Net and SuperSport 1 and DStv, starting at 11:45 am.

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