There’s a welcome return to to competitive rugby for Sharks stalwart Deon Carstens, as he is named to start at loosehead prop for the Wildebeest against Griquas in the curtain-raiser to the Sharks-Blues game at Kings Park on Saturday.
Kees Lensing and Skipper Badenhorst have more in common than their Namibian passports this week. They will occupy adjacent seats on the bench as the Wildebeest name a more mobile pack than the one that has been stuffed two weeks in a row. The full set of ELV’s are being trialled in the Vodacom Cup this year, placing huge emphasis on mobility and skills among the forwards.
Sanity has prevailed in the loose forwards as well, with Jacques Potgieter making way for the quicker Skholiwe Ndlovu at open-side flank. Justin Downey, himself no slouch for a big man, is on the blind-side, while Big Nik “Shamako” Blignaut finds himself at the base of the scrum this week.
In the backs, Frank Wagenstroom gets another chance at right wing after an uninspiring performance against the Pumas that saw him dropped last week. Andries Strauss is again at outside centre, allowing last year’s u21 partnership of Tiaan Marx and Riaan Swanepoel to operate at 10 and 12 respectively. Poor bloody Strauss just can’t catch a break, it seems; he’s far too slow to play 13 and it will show.
Look out for the return of oft-injured scrumhalf Scott Mathie, named on the bench. Also among the substitutes is loose forward Shaun Pammenter, who has just returned from a stint as crew member with Team Shosholoza in the Louis Vuitton Cup.
Here is the team:
15. Danie Dames, 14. Frank Wagenstroom, 13. Andries Strauss, 12. Riaan Swanepoel, 11. Henno Mentz, 10. Tiaan Marx, 9. Neil de Bruin, 8. Nikolai Blignaut, 7. Justin Downey, 6. Skholiwe Ndlovu, 5. Nolen Clarke, 4. Alistair Hargreaves (Capt), 3. Robbie Harris, 2. Jody Jenneker, 1. Deon Carstens
16. Skipper Badenhorst, 17. Kees Lensing, 18. Schalk van Jaarsveld, 19. Shaun Pammenter, 20. Scott Mathie, 21. Lwazi Mvovo, 22. Dumisani Matyeshana