Johannesburg – The Sharks have named eight Springboks in their first team for 2014 ahead of the pre-season friendly against English club Saracens, at Allianz Park in London on Saturday.
New captain Bismarck du Plessis will get his first run-out as leader and will have brother Jannie and Tendai Mtawarira in an all-Bok front row, while Pieter–Steph du Toit is chosen at lock.
Jean Deysel and Willem Alberts are part of the loose trio, with Lwazi Mvovo and Odwa Ndungane chosen on the wings.
Keegan Daniel, Frans Steyn and Marcell Coetzee did not tour after picking up injuries at training this week, while several members of the 23-man group have picked up stomach bugs and are unwell.
The Sharks are just three weeks away from their opening Super Rugby match of their campaign against the Bulls on February 15.
“What I enjoy about this game is that it mimics a little bit of what we can expect from the Bulls,” director of rugby, Jake White, said.
“Saracens play a little bit like the Bulls, they have a big pack of forwards, their set-piece is strong and they kick a lot.
“It gives me and the coaching staff an opportunity to see the things we want to do against the Bulls and to have an idea of whether or not we can play against the Bulls in a certain way.”
The Sharks team: Tyler Fisher, Odwa Ndungane, Paul Jordaan, Andre Esterhuizen, Lwazi Mvovo, Tim Swiel, Cobus Reinach, Willem Alberts, Jean Deysel, Tera Mtembu, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Etienne Oosthuizen, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis (capt), Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Kyle Cooper, Dale Chadwick, Lourens Adriaanse, Stephan Lewies, Jacques Botes, Charl McLeod, Heimar Williams, Jaco van Tonder. – Sapa