United Rugby Championship

Sharks coach insists Kolisi, Notshe NOT dropped for Dragons battle: 'The rotation is premeditated'

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Siya Kolisi during a Sharks training session. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
Siya Kolisi during a Sharks training session. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
  • Sharks head coach Sean Everitt says they aren't underestimating the Dragons despite benching Springboks Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Siya Kolisi.
  • Edinburgh subdued the Sharks in rainy conditions last weekend, while the Bulls put the Welshmen to the sword.
  • Everitt has put his trust in back row fledglings James Venter, Jeandre Labuschagne and Phepsi Buthelezi.

The Sharks have put two Springbok loose forwards on the bench, Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, but that is no sign that they are dropping their guard against the Dragons.

Head coach Sean Everitt switched things up for Friday night's clash at Kings Park with the Welshmen by starting James Venter alongside Jeandre Labuschagne and Phepsi Buthelezi in the back-row.

Everitt said the moves were premeditated rotational switches to rest some raw bones and not punitive measures following their 21-5 defeat to Edinburgh at home last week either.

READ | Du Toit leads Sharks against Dragons as Kolisi moves to bench

The Dragons also suffered a humiliating 55-20 defeat at Loftus last weekend to the Bulls.

"The rotation is premeditated. It's not because of the consequences of the loss," Everitt said.

"The team did everything in their power to win that game. We won every aspect of that game, from the power game to the metres kicked.

"We just felt that next week is five games in a row, and from my experience, players start to fatigue after game four, so it was a good opportunity to freshen it up after a tough three weeks.

"[Last week's result at Loftus] has got nothing to do with it. The Dragons will be a different kettle of fish here in Durban.

"They've flown in four international players this week - three forwards, one fullback - so we're expecting a physical onslaught from them. They mustn't be underestimated at all."

Everitt said he expected his fledglings to put up a decent showing, even though he had the Kolisi-Notshe insurance policy waiting on the bench.

"I am confident in the back-row. James showed again that, when he's on form, he's probably one of the best No 6s in South Africa," said Everitt.

"He was called up to the Green and Gold team last year after some really good performances. He's been outstanding in the Currie Cup and led the side with aplomb.

"He does bring a bit of experience amongst the two 23-year-olds, Jeandre and Phepsi.

"Phepsi's performed well and we felt that we had to give Notshe a string of games to get him back into full fitness because of his long injury layoff.

"It's another opportunity for Phepsi to continue the form he had before Notshe came back. Jeandre is a good lineout option and has played exceptionally well in URC.

"It's great that we have depth in those positions."

VIEW LOG | United Rugby Championship

Sharks team:

15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Jeremy Ward, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Jeandre Labuschagne, 6 James Venter, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Thomas du Toit (captain), 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Siya Kolisi, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Boeta Chamberlain

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