This is getting rather predictable, isn’t it? Just one rotational change up front and the rest of the team is exactly the same!
John Smit will start at tighthead this week for the Sharks, with Jannie du Plessis joining Deon Carstens on the bench. It will be Smit’s first start for the Sharks in the number 3 jersey this year, so he’ll look to capitalise on the fact that he’s up against a greenhorn in 20-year-old Reds débutante Ben Daley.
The only other change to the match 22 sees a fit-again Al van den Berg back in the number 18 jersey. Big Al replaces Alistair Hargreaves, who has had to fly home after injuring his ankle against the Blues. The Sharks will be pleased to have their main try-poacher back in the mix – so hopefully we won’t see JP Pietersen at lock again this season.
The loose forwards and backline are exactly the same as well – Keegan Daniel will get a chance to build on a frankly superb outing against the Blues as he continues to prove that he is a valid starting option at this level of the game. The backline is unchanged for a record fifth week – my only hope is that we’ll be in a comfortable enough position on the hour mark that some of the youngsters on the bench could actually get some gametime.
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. Keegan Daniel 6. Jacques Botes 5. Johann Muller (Captain) 4. Steven Sykes 3. John Smit 2. Bismarck du Plessis 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16. Deon Carstens 17. Jannie du Plessis 18. Albert van den Berg 19. Skholiwe Ndlovu 20. Ross Cronje 21. Riaan Swanepoel 22. Luzuko Vulindlu