Plumtree changes pack, keeps Daniel

2013-05-15 00:00

COACH John Plumtree has kept faith with beleaguered captain Keegan Daniel, while Springbok Willem Alberts will make his first Super Rugby start this year in Friday’s Super Rugby outing against the Force in Perth.

Daniel, tentative, under fierce pressure and battling to make his usual impact on both attack and defence, has been retained as number eight in a pack that shows three changes to the squad from the Reds’ game.

Prop Jannie du Plessis, flank Alberts and lock Anton Bresler return for Wiehahn Herbst, Jean Deysel and Pieter-Steph du Toit, while the only tinkering among the backs sees wing Odwa Ndungane take over from Piet Lindeque.

Plumtree said the Force had shown their quality against the stronger sides in the competition. “They beat the Crusaders, they lost by one point to the Chiefs, the 2012 champs, and because of those results, they have some belief,” said Plumtree yesterday.

They have also drawn and beaten the Reds in their two Australian Conference fixtures this season.

“We know it’s going to be a tough game. They’re a side that’s clearly working very hard for each other and it is going to be a really tough task from our side.”

Plumtree has opted for experience and a hard edge in including Du Plessis, Alberts, Bresler and Ndungane.

Alberts has spent the last three months on the sidelines after undergoing shoulder surgery back in February and Plumtree said presence of the burly Springbok would lift his team-mates.

“He is ready and he can finally start his season,” said Plumtree. “He and Anton Bresler will add physicality to the pack.”

Both Deysel and Du Toit were off their best against the Reds, but Plumtree said they had important roles to play off the bench.

Backrower Tera Mtembu faces a late fitness test on his shoulder and he is bracketed with Derick Minnie on the bench.

Sharks team: 15. Riaan Viljoen, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. JP Pietersen, 12. Meyer Bosman, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Keegan Daniel (captain), 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Anton Bresler, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. JC Janse van Rensburg Bench: 16. Monde Hadebe, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19. Derick Minnie/Tera Mtembu, 20. Jean Deysel , 21. Tian Meyer, 22. Piet Lindeque. Kick-off: 1.45 pm (SA time) on Friday.

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