The Sharks have named close to a full-strength lineup to take on the Lions in Durban in a Super 14 warm-up match on Wednesday night.
First-choice tight five members Deon Carstens and Steven Sykes are still out, while Odwa Ndungane has a foot injury, but otherwise, the side named for tomorrow night’s clash is pretty close to what you can expect to see when the Super 14 kicks off for real next weekend.
In the pack, Jannie du Plessis has been chosen to start along side his brother Bismarck. Beast Mtawarira completes the front row, with ex-retiree Johan Ackermann filling in for Sykes at 4. Numbers 5 through 8 have a settled look, with Captain Muller, Botes, Venter and Kankowski carrying on from last year.
In the backs, we see Ruan Pienaar partnering Fred Michalak, with the established centre pair of Barritt and Murray left intact. JP Pietersen will continue his try-scoring antics on the left wing, while Stefan Terblanche comes in on the right for Ndungane. Frans Steyn will use his huge boot to good effect at fullback.
The bench is not confirmed yet, but will contain plenty experienced men, including Adi Jacobs, Rory Kockott and BJ Botha.
Here is the team, courtesy of Mike Greenaway and IOL:
Sharks: 15 Frans Steyn 14 Stefan Terblanche 13 Waylon Murray 12 Bradley Barritt 11 J P Pietersen 10 Fred Michalak 9 Ruan Pienaar 8 Ryan Kankowski 7 A J Venter 6 Jacques Botes 5 Johann Muller (capt) 4 Johan Ackermann 3 Jannie du Plessis 2 Bismarck du Plessis 1 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes from: Kees Lensing, Craig Burden, BJ Botha, Albert van den Berg, Nickolai Blignaut, Jean Deysel, Rory Kockott, Adrian Jacobs, Andries Strauss, Henno MentzTweet