Durban – Patrick Lambie and Paul Jordaan have both failed to recover from injury and were excluded by Sharks coach John Plumtree from his side to face the Stormers in their Super Rugby semi-final in Cape Town on Saturday.
Springbok back Lambie was left behind in Durban for last week’s play-off trip to Australia, where the tourists trumped the Reds 30-17 in Brisbane.
He was expected to recover from a recurring ankle problem during that time, but Plumtree cast doubts over his fitness earlier this week when he rated him as doubtful.
Junior Bok centre Jordaan did play against the Queenslanders and even scored a try, before he had to hobble off with a hamstring injury.
He failed a fitness test and has now been left out in what is the only change to the starting XV for the clash at Newlands.
Meyer Bosman has instead been drafted into midfield, to partner Tim Whitehead.
There are significant changes on the bench, though, where out-of-form duo, loose forward Jean Deysel and fullback Riaan Viljoen, have been recalled.
Forward Cobus Reinach is the other player to miss out on the match 22.
Plumtree confirmed earlier this week that the Sharks will break their traditional Friday travel to Cape Town and instead fly up on Thursday.
The Stormer had a week off last week after they earned the right for a an automatic home semi-final and final, should they get there, by topping the overall log with 14 wins from 16 games.
Asked whether the break would work against them, Plumtree said: “It’s one of those million dollar questions, you don’t know whether the rest is good for you or not.
“They haven’t had any choice and so have we.”
The Sharks boss said he expected the Cape side to continue with the same game plan they used during the regular season.
“They don’t change too much what they do, but what they do is really efficient,” he added. “I guess that’s a really good way to describe them.
“They work really hard defensively, their defence has been talked about enough, it’s certainly a wall that’s hard to break down.
“Their line-out’s pretty big and I don’t expect they have to do a lot of line-out practice because of the monsters they have in there.
“It’s going to be a tough game, but I have to say that we are confident.” – Sapa