The Sharks will look to fiery hooker Bismarck du Plessis to aid Jean Deysel in containing Sione Lauaki when they take on the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday. Du Plessis and flank Jacques Botes have been named to start – the only changes to last week’s team.
The Chiefs have opted for somewhat less continuity in their pack – particularly following a frankly disastrous showing up-front against the Waratahs. Out go Ben May, Hikawera Ellit, Toby Lynn and Colin Bourke, replaced by James McGougan, Aled de Malmanche, Craig Clarke and Lauaki respectively.
I would argue that there’s still not too much to fear in the Chiefs tight five ranks, but the loose trio of Lauaki, Tanerau Latimer and Liam Messom remains a formidable one and the Sharks pack will need to operate as a unit to nullify the threat posed by those three. It’s at hooker where the Sharks may well expose their hosts; de Malmanche suffers from asthma and struggles to give his all over the full 80. The Sharks, in contrast, have John Smit to bring on for the last half hour of the game to really turn the screws.
Among the Chiefs backs, Mils Muliaina and Richard Kahui are still injured, although Sitiveni Sivivatu, Leila Masaga and the dangerous Sosene Anesi will ask questions of the Sharks defence. The Sharks back division is unchanged for a third successive week, as John Plumtree and Chris Boyd look to build much-needed continuity and understanding between the men in 9, 10, 12 and 13.
CHIEFS: 15 Sosene Anesi, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Dwayne Sweeney, 12 Callum Bruce, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Brendon Leonard; 8 Sione Lauaki, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam (c), 5 Kevin O’Neill, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 James McGougan, 2 Aled de Malmanche, 1 Sona Taumalolo. Reserves: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Ben May, 18 Toby Lynn, 19 Serge Lilo, 20 Toby Morland, 21 Mike Delany, 22 Jackson Willison.
The Sharks: 15. Stefan Terblanche, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Adrian Jacobs, 12. Francois Steyn, 11. JP Pietersen, 10. Ruan Pienaar, 9. Rory Kockott, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Johann Muller (Captain), 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Deon Carstens. Replacements: 16. John Smit, 17. Tendai Mtawarira, 18. Alistair Hargreaves, 19. Keegan Daniel, 20. Ross Cronje, 21. Riaan Swanepoel, 22. Luzuko VulindluTweet