Sithole shifts for Jordaan

2014-04-24 00:00

IT took a whole split second for Jake White to think about resting Frans Steyn for the Sharks’ clash against the Highlanders at King’s Park Stadium tomorrow evening.

In the end, White only made two injury-forced changes from the side that beat the Cheetahs last week. Paul Jordaan came back into the side, and will slot in his favoured outside centre, while S’bura Sithole, who has been at number 13 in recent weeks, shifts to the left wing.

In the other change, JP Pietersen comes back into the side and starts on the right wing.

The former Springbok coach also showed faith in Tim Swiel by retaining him at flyhalf. Ex-skipper Keegan Daniel also kept his place in the side at number eight, meaning he will play his 100th Super Rugby game for the franchise tomorrow.

White felt that making wholesale changes to the team would have counted against them, especially with the short, six-day turnaround time they have between the last game against the Cheetahs and this week’s encounter.

“We’re playing at home again before we go away. It was such a short week in terms of the turnaround time and to make changes would probably count against us,” White said yesterday morning at the team announcement press conference at King’s Park Stadium.

With Tonderai Chavhanga suffering an injury in his debut for the Sharks and missing this weekend, the return of Jordaan came at just the right time for White’s men.

“We’ve got Paul Jordaan back and JP Pietersen back, so that obviously boosts our backline a bit,” said White.

Speaking about his decision to retain Bishops Old Boy Swiel at 10, White felt that when he does get going, he could be very dangerous in that position.

“I’m really happy with Tim. I think he showed that he’s going to be a danger there when he does get going with ball in hand. He’s really quick, [the game against the Cheetahs] was his second game and it was difficult for everybody,” he said.

“If you consider that even a guy like Willie le Roux, who is a great ball player, dropped a few and made a few bad calls. The more Tim plays there next to Frans, the better he’s going to become.”

White said he did consider resting Steyn, who has been one of seven players who have started every game this season.

“I did think about giving him a rest for a split second, and then I changed my mind.

“Partly due to the fact that I need his experience and with guys that are not 100%. Obviously Paul and JP are back now and that gives me a little more confidence that there are a couple of senior guys around. But now, for this game, one that we want to win before we go overseas, we’ll probably leave it as is. We’ll probably tweak it as we get into the tour.”

White added that if Swiel was comfortable to kick, then he would be given the ball to say that the coaching staff are confident in his abilities as a flyhalf.

“Because of the fact that he’s so young, we’ll look at Frans for help and there’s nothing wrong with that. What we want from Tim is we want him to be confident. If he can kick it, he must say ‘I want to kick it’ so that there’s no doubt in the rest of the team,” White said.

“I’m going to go back to Tim and see what he does and we’ll see as we go along. But it’s nice to know we have Frans in the wings if he needs to kick.”

Just like every game this season, tomorrow’s encounter against the Highlanders is a must-win for the men in black and white, skipper Bismarck du Plessis said yesterday.

“We want to win all of our homes games. We want to create momentum for ourselves and create momentum for the union so it’s a must-win for us, definitely,” the hooker said.

“I won’t say there’s any luck that we need. We’re playing at home, in front of our home crowd. It will be five weeks before we play at home again.”

Tomorrow evening’s game will kick off at 7.10 pm. Once again, Jaco Peyper will be the referee and he will be assisted by Stuart Berry and Quinton Immelman while Shaun Veldsman will be the TMO.

Sharks: 15. Lwazi Mvovo, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Frans Steyn, 11. S’bura Sithole, 10. Tim Swiel, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Keegan Daniel, 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Stephan Lewies, 4. Willem Alberts, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1. Tendai Mtawarira Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Etienne Oosthuizen, 20. Ryan Kankowski, 21. Stefan Ungerer, 22. Heimar Williams, 23. SP Marais.

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