Plumtree tests depth against Pumas

2009-01-22 00:00

JOHN Smit, the Springbok rugby captain, is the one big name in a young, largely reserved Sharks team for the friendly against the Pumas in Witbank tomorrow evening.

Sharks coach John Plumtree is providing Bok hooker with every chance to settle into his new role at tighthead and the Bok will captain the side in the first of two Super 14 build-up games. The second takes place on Wednesday, February 4, when Plumtree will play his strongest side against the Bulls in Durban.

For the rest, Plumtree is using the outing to test his depth in the squad and the only other Sharks certainties for the Super 14 opener — against the Stormers in Cape Town on February 14 — are on the bench. They are halfbacks Ruan Pienaar and Rory Kockott, and Plumtree said both would be given a run in the second half, and lock Steven Sykes.

A new face in the team is the talented Falcons flyhalf Len Olivier though Plumtree is using him at fulbback. Monty Dumond, a lively performer in last year’s Currie Cup, will start at flyhalf.

There is a new Sharks pairing at lock with Johan Snyman, back from New Zealand, starting alongside Alistair Hargreaves. With Albert van den Berg unlikely to be fit for Newlands, one of them will provide back-up to the first-choice pair of Johann Muller and Sykes.

Meanwhile, the Eagles have landed in Witbank with five former SWD players in the Pumas line-up including captain and hooker Hannes Franklin. The others are centre Valentine van Wyk, wing Ashwin Scott, flank Doppies le Roux and tighthead Ashley Buys.

There are three other new faces in former Leopards flank Jaco Bouwer and ex-Falcons players, fullback Poerie van Rooyen and lock Marius Coetzer.

The match in Witbank kicks off at 5 pm.


Sharks: Len Olivier, Lwazi Mvovo, Luzuko Vulindlu, Andries Strauss, Chris Jordaan, Monty Dumond, Charl McLeod, Warren Whiteley, Justin Downey, Skholiwe Ndlovu, Johan Snyman, Alistair Hargreaves, John Smit (capt), Craig Burden, Melusi Mthethwa. Replacements: Frik Venter, Wiehahn Herbset, Steven Sykes, Nikolai Blignaut, Rory Kockott, Ruan Pienaar, Riaan Swanepoel.

Pumas: Poerie van Rooyen, Hyron Thysse, Valentine van Wyk, Jovan Botha, Ashwin Scott, Rudi Vogt, Jacques Coetzee, Quinten Minnaar, Doppies le Roux, Jaco Bouwer, Marius Coetzer, Eduan van der Walt, Ashley Buys, Hannes Franklin (capt), Sean Johnson. Replacements: Torsten van Jaarsveld, Brett Nel, Johan van Heerden, Francois van Wyk, Martin Sithole, Tiaan Marx, Gawie Marx, Juan Visser, Christiaan Els, Dwayne Smart, Jiffy Lamprecht, Jannie van der Merwe.

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