Steyn to play at fullback

2008-02-05 00:00

He could have been selected at flyhalf, centre or wing, but Springbok Frans Steyn will turn out at fullback for the Sharks in their second and final warm-up game against the Lions at King’s Park tomorrow evening.

Sharks coach Dick Muir last night named close to his strongest available team for the friendly outing and he was spoilt for choice in most positions, particularly at threequarter.

Steyn, who played at inside centre and was a prominent member of the World Cup-winning Springbok team, will start the season at fullback, but he could at any stage move to one of three other positions in the backline.

Bok scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar will partner French Test flyhalf Freddie Michalak at halfback, Waylon Murray and Brad Barritt are again linked in midfield, while JP Pietersen and Stefan Terblanche, who played at fullback in the Currie Cup last year, will be on the wings.

Hooker Bismarck du Plessis joins his brother Jannie du Plessis in the front-row with Beast Mtawarira on the loosehead.

Veteran Springbok lock Johan Ackermann, who turns 38 this year, has been recalled in the absence of the recuperating Steven Sykes and he joins Sharks captain Johann Muller in the second-row.

Muir has named a familiar loose trio in Ryan Kankowski, AJ Venter and Jacques Botes.

Not considered because of injury are props Deon Carstens and Pat Cilliers, lock Sykes, Odwa Ndungane and the pair of Keegan Daniels and Skipper Badenhorst, who both picked up knee injuries against the Cheetahs at the weekend and will be sidelined for the opening weeks of the Super 14.

Muir said that he would settle on his bench (of 11 players for this trial game) today, but Bok prop BJ Botha, Craig Burden, Albert van den Berg, Kees Lensing, Rory Kockott, Adrian Jacobs, Andries Strauss and Henno Mentz are certain to be involved.

The match will kick off at 7 pm tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Muir confirmed that former Natal lock Steve Atherton will return to the provincial camp and assist Charles Louw in coaching the Wildebeest this season.

Sharks team:

Frans Steyn, Stefan Terblanche, Waylon Murray, Brad Barritt, JP Pietersen, Freddie Michalak, Ruan Pienaar, Ryan Kankowski, AJ Venter, Jacques Botes, Johann Muller, Johan Ackermann, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis and Beast Mtawarira.

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