SA Schools hooker Morne du Plessis (no relation) is back after an enforced week off and will wear the number 2 jersey against many of his former schoolmates as the Sharks under 19 side take on the Blue Bulls at Kings Park tomorrow afternoon.
Du Plessis replaces Warrick Venter in the only change to the run-on side that lost to Western Province at a sodden Newlands last week and while results haven’t gone the way of Ettiene Fynn’s side in recent weeks, the coach must be credited for backing his boys and resisting the urge to make sweeping changes to the team. They know they’ll be up against it when Paul Anthony’s star-studded Bulls under 19s roll into town, though, with the Bulls seemingly going out of their way to recruit the top three players in each position at under 19 level each year.
There are some changes on the bench this week; out go Bokkie Carstens and Sphu Msutwana, with Oakdale centre Mike Bernardt and former Zimbabwe Craven Week player Takudzwa Chieza both coming in as midfield replacements. This means no scrummie on the bench, with captain Rob du Preez (who has the genes to play scrumhalf) taking over at 9 should it be required.
The return of Venter to the bench sees Kealan Henry also make way in the number 16 jersey.
The Sharks Under 19s
15. Sean Robinson, 14. Kotaro Matsushima, 13. Tyler Fisher, 12. Gareth Meikle, 11. Alcino Izaacs, 10. Robert du Preez (Capt), 9. Stefan Ungerer, 8. Hendrik Uys, 7. Andrew van Tonder, 6. Theo Kruger, 5. Myles Tucker, 4. David Fisher, 3. Richard Palframan, 2. Morne du Plessis, 1. Nicolas Roebeck
16. Warrick Venter, 17. John-Hubert Meyer, 18. Louis Hazelhurst, 19. Kirk Twine, 20. Takudzwa Chieza, 21. Brendan Cope, 22. Mike Bernardt, 23. Matthew Jones