Sharks shored up for semi

2011-10-21 00:00

COACH John Plumtree has named a formidable Sharks starting line-up containing 13 past and present internationals for tomorrow’s Currie Cup semi-final against the Free State Cheetahs at King’s Park.

Plumtree has included all seven of his Rugby World Cup Springboks, the Du Plessis brothers, Beast Mtawarira, Willem Alberts, Pat Lambie, JP Pietersen and Odwa Ndungane, in the run-on team after most of them played off the bench against the Lions last weekend.

They will join six former Test players, veteran centres Stefan Terblanche and Marius Joubert, French flyhalf Frederic Michalak, loose forwards Ryan Kankowksi and Keegan Daniel, and lock Jean Deysel.

The only two uncapped players in the starting line-up are scrumhalf are Conrad Hoffman and lock Ross Skeate.

Plumtree has another two former Boks on the bench in centre Adi Jacobs and wing Lwazi Mvovo, who are both recovering from hamstring strains.

Deysel has been named at lock, but he is suffering from a groin injury and faces a late fitness test with Anton Bresler standing by.

“Everyone has to bring energy to the team,” said Plumtree yesterday. “This is a big game, a huge game. It was great to have the Boks back last week but, after having to integrate them last week now we’re a team and everyone, not just the Springboks, has a big responsibility.”

Captain Keegan Daniel said the return of the Boks has provided the Sharks with a timely boost.

“Guys like Bismarck and Jannie [Du Plessis], the Beast and Willem [Alberts] are all big ball-carriers and we welcome them back with open arms.

“They have the ability to get us over the gainline when they carry the ball and they are exceptionally effective on defence as well. They have been a great boost to our squad and their attitude coming back from the World Cup has been phenomenal.”

He said that the 53-9 win over the log-leading Lions last Saturday had lifted the mood in the camp.

“You will take confidence from beating the top team and scoring 50 points. There were still some problem areas, but it was about integrating the Springboks back into the team. It wasn’t about individuals but about a team performance, and we were satisfied with the way we played.

“But we are now in the play-offs and that is vastly different proposition and we will have to tighten up even more.”

Both Daniel and Plumtree urged the Sharks supporters to turn out in numbers tomorrow.

“We are fortunate to play for a team that has support all around the world, but playing at King’s Park is incredibly special,” said Daniel. “It makes a massive difference to have a home semi-final and for us it is about giving back and rewarding the fans who support us here week after week.

“I hope we’ll back it up with a great performance at the weekend.”

The Lions-Western Province semi-final at Ellis Park is at 5.00pm tomorrow.



Sharks: 15. Patrick Lambie, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Stefan Terblanche, 12. Marius Joubert, 11. JP Pietersen, 10. Frederic Michalak, 9. Conrad Hoffmann, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Keegan Daniel (captain), 5. Ross Skeate, 4. Jean Deysel / Anton Bresler, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Eugene van Staden, 18. Marcell Coetzee, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Ross Cronje, 21. Adrian Jacobs, 22. Lwazi Mvovo.

Free State Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Ryno Benjamin, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Cameron Jacobs, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Ashley Johnson, 6 Pieter Labuschagne, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Philip van der Walt, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Marcel van der Merwe.

Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Johan Wessels, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Nico Scheepers.

Kick-off: 2.30pm. Referee: Marius Jonker.

Ticket prices: Stands: R150; Scholar Benches: R70 (Sharks Ticket Office and Computicket.

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