Cheetahs loanee Pienaar takes Sharks No 9 jersey for Munster tussle

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Ruan Pienaar. (Photo by Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images)
Ruan Pienaar. (Photo by Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images)

The Sharks have opted for continuity in their United Rugby Championship opener against Irish outfit Munster in Limerick on Saturday evening.

Sharks coach Sean Everitt has stuck with the same pack of forwards that lined up against the Bulls in the Currie Cup final, while Ruan Pienaar, on loan from the Cheetahs, marks his return to the Sharks after an 11-year absence from the team where his senior career began.

The only other change to the starting XV sees Boeta Chamberlain named at flyhalf after the departure of Lionel Cronje following his short-term stint with the Durban franchise during the Currie Cup.

There is a welcome return for the lock duo of Hyron Andrews and Ruben van Heerden, the pair have been named on a forward dominated, 6-2 split bench.

Prop Thomas du Toit is expecting a huge onslaught from the Irish team but warns that his side won't be holding back either, with both sides looking to impose themselves physically.

"They're a physical side, all Irish sides are, but that doesn't that South African sides are not as physical, it's definitely going to be a tough game of rugby with physicality at the front and centre. We as South Africans don’t want to disappoint as far as physicality goes."

With their Bulls connection via coach Johann van Graan, Du Toit admits that there are going to be similarities between Munster and the local Pretoria team but explains their well-roundedness makes them a very dangerous opponent.

"Munster have a good kicking game and will look to play in the right areas of the field, but when they need to put the ball through phases, they can do that. The big challenge for us is going to be stopping their momentum throughout the game."

Saturday’s clash kicks off at 20:35 (SA time).





15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Werner Kok, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi (captain), 7 Henco Venter, 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Khwezi Mona

Substitutes: 16 Fez Mbatha, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Mpilo Gumede, 20 Ruben van Heerden, 21 Hyron Andrews, 22 Sanele Nohamba, 23 Jeremy Ward

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