Johannesburg – Tim Whitehead is back in the Sharks line-up among five changes made for the Currie Cup clash against Western Province in Cape Town on Saturday.
The injury-prone centre comes into the midfield alongside Louis Ludik having last played in the opening week of the competition when he sustained ankle and rib knocks.
Whitehead takes over from the Heimar Williams in what is a rotational switch by management, who have also left out another promising youngster Fred Zeilinga at flyhalf where veteran Butch James comes in to win a 50th domestic cap for the coastal side.
“We've made a few rotational changes,” backline coach Sean Everitt said.
“Butch comes in for Fred in a purely rotational switch because Fred has done well over the last couple of weeks, but it is Butch's turn to start.
“Tim Whitehead had an unfortunate run with injuries, but Heimar has filled in well over the last couple of weeks. It will now be another opportunity for Tim and we know what he's capable of.”
The other change in the back sees winger Sizo Maseko come in for Odwa Ndungane, who suffered a recurrence of a hamstring problem that has troubled him all season.
However, Charl McLeod has to make do with a place amongst the replacements despite his man-of-the-match showing against the Bulls last week with Cobus Reinach keeping hold of the number nine jersey.
“Charl has been on top of his game throughout the Currie Cup season, but we have two very good scrumhalves and we need to develop both of them and keep them both fit,” Everitt said.
There are two changes in the forwards where Rayno Gerber and Danie Mienie take over from for Wiehahn Herbst and Dale Chadwick respectively.
“Danie will get a start, he's been training hard with us for the last five weeks and deserves a start and Rayno Gerber will come in at tighthead,” Everitt added.
The Sharks are currently top of the standings after three wins from their opening four matches.
Sharks: SP Marais, Sizo Maseko, Louis Ludik, Tim Whitehead, Lwazi Mvovo, Butch James, Cobus Reinach, Jacques Botes (captain), Jean Deysel, Keegan Daniel, Marco Wentzel, Peet Marais, Rayno Gerber, Craig Burden, Danie Mienie. Replacements: Kyle Cooper, Wiehahn Herbst, Edwin Hewitt, Justin Downey, Charl McLeod, Fred Zeilinga, Jaco van Tonder. – Sapa