Bismarck du Plessis came through a late fitness test to take his place for the Sharks in their starting line-up for the Super Rugby clash against the Chiefs in Durban on Saturday.

The Springbok hooker was carrying a variety of niggling ailments, including quad, shoulder and an adductor strain that forced him to return early from the tour to Australia and New Zealand.

His inclusion is one of three changes made by the Sharks, who have also recalled Willem Alberts and Jacques Botes, with Craig Burden, Jean Deysel and Marcell Coetzee all dropping to the bench.

Kyle Cooper is left out of the match, while Pieter-Steph du Toit comes onto the bench ahead of Jandre Marais.

The Sharks are currently eighth on the table and looking ahead to the clash against the table-topping Chiefs at Kings Park, coach John Plumtree said: “We have to play very well to beat them because they are a good side.

“The Chiefs sides of the past don’t reflect what this one is doing. They’re playing more fixed combinations and they’ve found more confidence in their methods through consistent selection.”

The Sharks team: Riaan Viljoen, Louis Ludik, JP Pietersen, Tim Whitehead, Lwazi Mvovo, Patrick Lambie, Charl McLeod, Keegan Daniel (captain), Willem Alberts, Jacques Botes, Anton Bresler, Steven Sykes, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Dale Chadwick.

Replacements: Craig Burden, Wiehahn Herbst, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jean Deysel, Marcell Coetzee, Meyer Bosman, Frederic Michalak. – Sapa