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Durban – JP Pietersen has been thrust straight into the starting XV in one of three changes made by the Sharks for their Super Rugby clash against the Reds in Durban.
The Springbok winger has returned after completing a stint of club rugby in Japan where his team, Panasonic Wild Knights, defeated defending champions Suntory Goliath in their championship final last week.
“He (Pietersen) was always going to come in late and he was always going to come straight back into the squad,” director of rugby Jake White said on Thursday.
“A guy with his experience, we were never going to wait.”
Pietersen's inclusion is at the expense of Odwa Ndungane, who is away on compassionate leave following the passing on of his father.
Centre Paul Jordaan also misses out after undergoing a scope to his knee, which is expected to keep him out of action for a month, and is replaced by S'bura Sithole in midfield.
The final change sees Pat Lambie, a late withdrawal from the 37-23 win over the Lions last weekend due to illness, return at flyhalf, with Frans Steyn shifting back to centre.
Tera Mtembu and Jaco van Tonder come in on the bench ahead of Jean Deysel and Sithole.
Sharks team: SP Marais, JP Pietersen, S'bura Sithole, Frans Steyn, Lwazi Mvovo, Patrick Lambie, Cobus Reinach, Ryan Kankowski, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Anton Bresler, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis (capt), Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: Kyle Cooper, Dale Chadwick, Lourens Adriaanse, Stephan Lewies, Tera Mtembu, Charl McLeod, Heimar Williams, Jaco van Tonder. – Sapa