Dick Muir has named a powerful side to take on the Stormers in Durban on Saturday night.
Last week’s try-scoring performance at full-back was not enough to ensure veteran Stefan Terblanche another start. The Sharks all-time leading try-scorer in Super Rugby is on the bench this week, as World Cup talisman Frans Steyn is handed the number 15 shirt. Steyn’s flyhalf position goes to Frenchman Frederic Michalak, who makes his Sharks debut.
In the only other change to the backline, Odwa Ndungane returns from injury and slots straight into his favoured right wing position. JP Pietersen moves over to the left to replace Henno Mentz, who pays the price for some shoddy work both on attack and defence last week. Mentz will in all likelihood make the number 11 shirt his own this year – in the Wildebeest team.
The pack is unchanged, with AJ Venter cleared to play. Venter needs to put in a vastly improved showing if he and his loose-forward colleagues, Jacques Botes and Ryan Kankowksi are to see off the challenge from their impressive Stormers counterparts.
Muir has decided to go with a more traditional 4-3 split on the bench this week, so Terblanche joins Adi Jacobs and Rory Kockott as the backline reserves. Jean Deysel and Kees Lensing drop out of the 22 altogether as Keegan Daniel comes in.
Sharks Team (*denotes Super Rugby debut) :
15 Steyn, 14 Ndungane, 13 Murray, 12 Barritt, 11 Pietersen, 10 Michalak*, 9 Pienaar, 8 Kankowski, 7 Venter, 6 Botes, 5 Muller (capt), 4 Ackermann, 3 Botha, 2 B du Plessis, 1 Mtawarira
Subs: 16 Burden, 17 J du Plessis, 18 van den Berg, 19 Daniel, 20 Kockott, 21 Jacobs, 22 TerblancheTweet