Durban – Loose forward Marcell Coetzee is back in the Sharks team as one of a massive seven changes for the Currie Cup clash against the Free State Cheetahs in Durban on Saturday.
The Springbok flanker, who last tasted competitive action in July, was one of four players released from national duty this week and comes in for captain Jacques Botes, who is rested, while Keegan Daniel is shifted to number eight and will take over the armband.
“Marcell is a very fit and enthusiastic young man, he has a lot of energy and brings a lot of energy to the team,” backline coach Sean Everitt said.
“Despite flying into Durban late on Sunday, he was at rehab training first thing on Monday morning.
“He hasn’t shown any signs of fatigue, he’s got through both training sessions very well, so we expect him to give of his best.”
Tera Mtembu completes the loose trio by replacing Jean Deysel, with the other changes to the forwards seeing lock Peet Marais and prop Dale Chadwick take over from Edwin Hewitt and Danie Mienie respectively.
There are three changes among the backs, where Odwa Ndungane replaces Sizo Maseko on the wing, Heimar Williams comes in for Louis Ludik at centre and Fred Zeilinga is named ahead of Butch James at flyhalf.
“It’s good that Heimar has another opportunity because he did really well in the games he played,” Everitt added.
“He was one of the top performers in the backline in those games.
“On the other hand, Louis Ludik has done exceptionally well, playing out of position at number 13. Louis is always very accurate in what he does; he gives of his best at all times. So it is a nice opportunity for him to have a break and it’s also good that we can have a look at other combinations.”
The Sharks are currently second on the log after beating Griquas 25-24 in Kimberley last weekend.
They trail the leaders Western Province by a single point with four games remaining.
The Sharks team: SP Marais, Odwa Ndungane, Tim Whitehead, Heimar Williams, Lwazi Mvovo, Fred Zeilinga, Charl McLeod, Keegan Daniel (capt), Tera Mtembu, Marcell Coetzee, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Peet Marais, Wiehahn Herbst, Kyle Cooper, Dale Chadwick. Replacements: Monde Hadebe, Rayno Gerber, Edwin Hewitt, Bynard Stander, Cobus Reinach, Butch James, Jaco van Tonder. – Sapa