Plum aims to match Cheetahs’ pace

2013-02-21 00:00

SHARKS coach John Plumtree, wary of the pace in the Cheetahs backline, has opted for a mobile backrow and rushed Ryan Kankowski into his team for the Super Rugby opener in Bloemfontein on Saturday evening.

Plumtree has named a fairly predictable line-up, although the powerful Jean Deysel, a logical replacement for flank Willem Alberts, will play off the bench, while Cobus Reinach is preferred to the more experienced Charl McLeod at scrumhalf.

Kankowski, who was banished to the gym and missed the Sharks’ pre-season friendlies after returning to Durban from a six-month stint in Japan, will be at number eight in place of injured captain Keegan Daniel. He will join Springbok Marcell Coetzee and Jacques Botes in the backrow.

Kankowski not only adds pace in the open spaces, but he excelled in the lineout role in Super Rugby last year and he does provide Plumtree with an additional jumper. “The way the Cheetahs play influenced many of the selections,” said Plumtree.

“They have a lot of speed and there are genuine threats in their backline. We have to be able to match that defensively.”

He said the selection in several areas was tight, particularly at scrumhalf and lock, and he had opted for players able to combat the Cheetah’s style of play.

He added that experience had been a major factor in selecting the tight five where Bok tighthead Jannie du Plessis is preferred to the younger but fitter Wiehahn Herbst.

Craig Burden is at hooker with Kyle Cooper on the bench, and Anton Bresler partners new signing Franco van der Merwe in the second-row with the young Pieter-Steph du Toit among the replacements.

The backs, apart from the scrumhalf berth, were obvious selections and Frans Steyn will captain the side from inside centre.

The Cheetahs have been boosted by the selection of the young Springbok, Johan Goosen, at flyhalf.

“It is good to have Johan back in the thick of things,” Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské told reporters in Bloemfontein yesterday.

“He is one of our star players and has looked very good during practice …”

Goosen made his Test debut last year but was then sidelined for four months with knee and heel injuries and the Sharks’ Pat Lambie took over at flyhalf.

Springbok prop Coenie Oosthuizen is also back after an extended injury break with a neck problem and he will play off the bench on Saturday.


Cheetahs: 15. Hennie Daniller, 14. Willie le Roux, 13. Johann Sadie, 12. Robert Ebersohn, 11. Raymond Rhule, 10. Johan Goosen, 9. Piet van Zyl, 8. Philip van der Walt, 7. Lappies Labuschagne, 6. Frans Viljoen, 5. Francois Uys, 4. Lood de Jager, 3. Lourens Adriaanse, 2. Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1. Trevor Nyakane.

Replacements: 16. Ryno Barnes, 17. Coenie Oosthuizen, 18. Waltie Vermeulen, 19. Boom Prinsloo, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21. Elgar Watts, 22. Ryno Benjamin.

Sharks: 15. Louis Ludik, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Francois Steyn (captain), 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Marcell Coetzee, 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Anton Bresler, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Craig Burden, 1. Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Pieter-Steph du Toit 19. Jean Deysel, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Meyer Bosman, 22. Odwa Ndungane.

Kick-off: 5.05 pm

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