The Sharks have no illusions about the physical onslaught they will have to contend with against the Blue Bulls in Saturday’s Currie Cup clash in Durban.
Anticipating a massive onslaught from the Bulls’ pack, the Sharks have picked five instead of the usual four forwards for their substitutes’ bench.
What is more, two of those players, Albert van den Berg and Steven Sykes, are locks.
Liam Del Carme writes in Beeld that As predicted, there was no room for Springboks Tendai Mtawarira and Adrian Jacobs.
However, two other Boks, Bismarck du Plessis and JP Pietersen, find themselves among the replacements.
Mtawarira and Jacobs are among those Boks that are being rested this week, while Du Plessis and Pietersen, who still have niggling minor injuries, will be phased in during the game.
Despite the omission of Mtawarira and Jacobs, the Sharks boast nine players with international experience in their starting line-up, with three more Springboks on the bench.
Back after their recent Test obligations, Jannie du Plessis, Odwa Ndungane, Frans Steyn and Ruan Pienaar will all be in the starting side.
With the bruising battle expected up front against the Bulls, the question is whether the Sharks have enough ammunition to beat or even just to contain the visitors.
Regained his form
Their loose trio undoubtedly have enough pace in Jacques Botes and Keegan Daniel, while flanker Jean Deysel’s boots-and-all style has gained him a whole pile of fans this year.
Daniel, who started off this year’s Super14 series like a whirlwind, but did not finish with the same abandon, has regained his form in the loose.
In the front row, Du Plessis, Skipper Badenhorst and Deon Carstens will also provide the hosts with enough skills and experience to neutralise the visitors.
But it may be at lock where the Bulls could have a slight edge.
Sharks skipper Johann Muller has just recovered from an injury.
If he can make an impression from the word go, it can only strengthen his side’s chances of taking over the top spot on the log.
The Sharks team:
Stefan Terblanche; Odwa Ndungane, Frans Steyn, Brad Barritt, Waylon Murray; Frederic Michalak, Ruan Pienaar; Keegan Daniel, Jean Deysel, Jacques Botes; Johann Muller (c), Alistair Hargreaves; Jannie du Plessis, Skipper Badenhorst, Deon Carstens.
Replacements: Bismarck du Plessis, Pat Cilliers, Steven Sykes, Albert van den Berg, Skholiwe Ndlovu; Rory Kockott, JP Pietersen.Tweet