Plumtree sticks to familiar line-up

2011-05-20 00:00

SHARKS coach John Plumtree was tempted but has instead opted against meddling unnecessarily with the familiar in naming his starting line-up for tomorrow’s Super Rugby derby against the Bulls at King’s Park.

Plumtree yesterday made just the one change, forced on him by the suspension of flank Keegan Daniel, to the team that was named for the Sharks’ last game against the Brumbies. Jacques Botes, over his ankle injury, makes the most timely of returns to take over from Daniel.

There is a second change to the team which took the field a fortnight ago with Beast Mtawarira, who dropped to the bench in a late change because of injury, back at loosehead in place of Eugene van Staden.

John Smit, who has been struggling with a calf strain over the past three weeks but was expected to be back among the replacements, failed a late fitness test and hooker Craig Burden is again among the substitutes.

Plumtree has admitted he was toying with the idea of starting with Adi Jacobs in the midfield. Jacobs has been lively and creative as a second-half replacement this season and Plumtree said the chunky centre was challenging strongly to start.

But the Sharks coach has again stayed with the midfield pairing of Meyer Bosman and Stefan Terblanche to weather the early storm in what will be the most physical of contests. Jacobs is certain to make an appearance early in the second half and, indeed, there are some observers who believe that he is at his most effective as an impact player in the latter stages when the defences are not as tight.

The massive lock Gerhard Mostert takes over from Anton Bresler to provide further bulk off the bench while young Marcel Coetzee, who made his debut against the Brumbies, provides loose-forward cover.

Plumtree said there was concern that the Sharks would be slow out of their blocks after last weekend’s bye and said it was critical to start well against the Bulls.

“I hope we have addressed the problem,” he said.

The Sharks, in contrast to the Bulls, are missing three players — the injured Ryan Kankowski and Smit, and the suspended Daniel.

The Bulls, bringing back four Springboks — backs Francois Hougaard and Jaco Pretorius along with captain Victor Matfield and hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle — are at full strength.

The Bulls have 13 Test players in their starting line-up — props Werner Kruger and Dean Greyling are the exceptions — while the Sharks have 12 with Louis Ludik, Jacques Botes and Steven Sykes the exceptions.

The match kicks off at 7.10 pm.



Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Stefan Terblanche (c), 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Eugene van Staden, 18 Gerhard Mostert, 19 Marcel Coetzee, 20 Conrad Hoffmann, 21 Adi Jacobs, 22 Lwazi Mvovo.


Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 Jaco Pretorius, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling.

Replacements: 16 Gary Botha, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Danie Rossouw, 20 Derick Kuün, 21 Francois Brummer, 22 Gerhard van den Heever.

Referee: Bryce Lawsrence (NZ).

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