Sharks coach Dick Muir has named his team for Friday night’s Super 14 opener against the Force.
The side has a pretty predictable look to it, although there are a few surprising aspects. Up front, Beast Mtawarira gets a start, with BJ Botha retaining his spot at number 3. Bismarck du Plessis is the hooker, but his brother Jannie will play off the bench this week. The two Johan(n)s, Ackermann and Muller continue their partnership in the second row. The latter is captain. The loose trio of Jacques Botes, AJ Venter and the great Kanko picks itself, of course.
Ruan Pienaar partners our pink lad, Fred Michalak at flyhalf, although Fred has been bracketed with Frans Steyn due to a hamstring niggle. Bad Brad Barritt and Waylon Murray are the centres, with JP Pietersen at left wing. Henno Mentz comes in on the right for Odwa Ndungane, who’s still carrying a foot injury.
Steyn will play fullback unless he ends up covering flyhalf, in which case the evergreen Stef Terblanche will don the number 15 shirt.
The bench looks pretty strange, to say the least. There’s a full front-row in there, with Kees Lensing and Craig Burden joining Doc Jannie on the woodwork. That just leaves young Jean Deysel (bracketed with Albert van den Berg) to cover positions 4 through 8. Rory Kockott, crowd-favourite Adi Jacobs and Terblanche make up the balance of the reserves.
Steyn/Terblanche, Mentz, Murray, Barritt, Pietersen, Michalak/Steyn, Pienaar, Kankowski, Venter, Botes, Muller (capt), Ackermann, Botha, B du Plessis, Mtawarira.
Reserves: Lensing, Burden, J du Plessis, Deysel/van den Berg, Kockott, Jacobs, Terblanche/van den BergTweet