Sharks at full strength for WP showdown

2010-08-20 00:00

SHARKS coach John Plumtree has rushed back three Springbok forwards in naming a powerful team to face unbeaten Western Province in top-of-the-log Currie Cup clash at King’s Park tomorrow night.

Number eight Ryan Kankwoski and front-row heavyweight Beast Mtawarira and Bismarck du Plessis, who returned to action recently after neck surgery, join fellow-Boks Steven Sykes and Alistair Hargreaves in a strong pack.

But it was loose forward Willem Albert’s positive fitness report yesterday which would have pleased Plumtree most. The 120kg Alberts, who provides the forwards with much of their momentum, has been nursing a calf strain but yesterday he and fullback Louis Ludik were passed fit.

In the only change amongst the backs, scrumhalf Charl McLeod returns for Rory Kockott who drops to the bench.

Plumtree has changed the whole front-row for the Province clash with props Patric Cilliers and Eugene van Staden, along with in-form hooker Craig Burden, dropping out to be replaced by Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis and Wiehahn Herbst

“I wanted to give Bismarck an opportunity in this game,” Plumtree said yesterday. “He’s played a couple of games off the bench and he’s ready to start now that he’s got some confidence back.

“The Beast also hasn’t had a lot of rugby and they’re both keen to go. Wiehahn [Herbst], after having a week off, is given an opportunity against Wicus Blaauw. Steven Sykes, after his week’s break, is back at lock and Ryan Kankowski is also returning after his injury.”

Sykes takes over from tall lock Ross Skeate, who was impressive against the Leopards last week.

Plumtree said that Alberts, who moves from number eight to flank to accommodate Kankowksi, “is about the best in the business when it comes to creating momentum”.

“But it was a hard call to omit [flank] Jacques Botes. It is the way I want to start the game. The way I finish might be slightly different,” he added.

Plumtree said he was pleased with the way scrumhalf Kockott had played against the Leopards.

“But Charl has been playing some excellent rugby and deserves an opportunity against Western Province”

Burden, Van Staden, Skeate, Botes and Kockott, who all started against the Leopards a week ago, are on the bench.

The match kicks off at 7.15pm tomorrow.

The Sharks U19 and U21 play Western Province from 3.00pm. Supporters are urged to arrive early and can watch the Test match between the Springboks and All Blacks which will be screened on the big screen at the bandstand stage on the outer fields as well as in the pubs inside the stadium.

Sharks team:

15. Louis Ludik, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Stefan Terblanche (captain), 12. Andries Strauss, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Keegan Daniel 5. Alistair Hargreaves, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Eugene van Staden, 18. Ross Skeate, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Rory Kockott, 21. Monty Dumond, 22. Riaan Swanepoel

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