Sharks to make late changes

2012-05-17 00:00

WHILE the Sharks have delayed naming their team until later today, the Cheetahs have made one change — and dropped flyhalf Sias Ebersohn — for Saturday evening’s Super Rugby clash in Bloemfontein.

Sharks coach ohn Plumtree has a couple of injury concerns with fullback Louis Ludik, who is suffering from a bruised bicep, and flyhalf Pat Lambie (slight concussion) facing fitness tests this morning.

There is also a possibility that powerful Springbok flank Willem Alberts could make a return, perhaps to the bench, after a couple of weeks on the sidelines and ahead of the string of South African derbies.

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské has shown faith in the players who took the Free Staters so close to victory over the Stormers at Newlands last Saturday. The Cheetahs trailed 16-0 at the break but improved markedly in the second half before going down 16-14.

One of the features of their revival was the form of replacement flyhalf Riaan Smit who took over from a shaky Ebersohn in the second half.

A couple of weeks ago flyhalf Smit was only third on the pecking order but first the talented playmaker Johan Goosen suffered a serious shoulder injury and then Ebersohn, one of the Cheetahs’ better players in 2011, lost his touch.

“With Sias, it is a confidence thing,” Drotské told reporters yesterday. “It is something he needs to sort out for himself.

“He will be on the bench, but he can still make a huge impact as a replacement in the second half.”

The Cheetahs coach said he was delighted with Smit’s form against the Stormers.

“Riaan did very well when he came onto the field, it will be good to give him a chance in the starting line-up. He hasn’t played a lot of Super Rugby this season, but we know what he is capable of. He showed against the Stormers that he is a good attacking player and that he has kept his goal-kicking up to par.”

Drotské said he was expecting his forwards to match the Sharks by reproducing the commitment and intensity of the second half against the Stormers.

“We dominated in the second half at Newlands and we need to do the same against the Sharks,” he said.

The Cheetahs coach said the Sharks would be physical and he is looking to strong backrower Ashley Johnson to play a major role off the bench in the second half.

The Cheetahs are in 10th spot (27 points) on the log while the Sharks are sixth on 36 points.

The game kicks off at 5.05 pm on Saturday and Jonathan Kaplan will be the referee.

Cheetahs team:

15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Cameron Jacobs, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Riaan Smit, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Justin Downey, 6 Heinrich Brussouw, 5 George Earle, 4 Izak van der Westhuizen, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen

Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Andries Ferreira, 19 Ashley Johnson, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Philip Snyman

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