Durban – The Sharks have made a massive six changes to their starting XV for their clash against Griquas this Saturday as coach Brad Macleod-Henderson reacted strongly to the surprise loss to the Pumas last weekend.
Fullback SP Marais, winger Tonderai Chavhanga and props Matt Stevens and Dale Chadwick all make way, along with flank Francois Kleinhans and lock JC Astle, who are injured.
“As a team we weren't happy with the way we played last Friday. We made a lot of unforced errors in that game,” assistant coach Sean Everitt said.
“We know we are better than that, and that the individuals who made mistakes are better than that. So we're looking for a big improvement this weekend.”
Jaco van Tonder makes his first start of the season coming into the team in the number 15 jersey, while Heimar Williams is in at centre, replacing S'bura Sithole, who shifts to the wing in place of Chavhanga.
Versatile forward Etienne Oosthuizen moves from lock to flank in place of Kleinhans, out for eight weeks with a broken hand.
Debutant Wiehan Hay and Stephan Lewies form a new second-row pairing as Astle makes way suffering a hamstring strain.
“We had a few injuries on Friday and it wasn't easy to lose both locks and a loose-forward,” Everitt said.
“We're fortunate in that Stephan Lewies is ready to start after playing off the bench in recent weeks and there's Wiehan Hay who has been in our system for a while and played Vodacom Cup rugby.”
In the front row, Lourens Adriaanse and Thomas du Toit will line-up either side of Kyle Cooper with Stevens and Chadwick dropping out.
The defending champions are currently fourth on the log and face second-from-bottom Griquas at Kings Park on Saturday evening.
“No one likes to lose, and with the Pumas having been promoted to the Currie Cup this year, there was a lot of expectation for us to get the result on Friday night,” Everitt said.
“So the guys were really disappointed, but more so in the way they played. No one goes out there to make mistakes. The team know they can do better, but there is still a lot of energy and the guys remain enthusiastic. They'll learn from that.”
Sharks: Jaco van Tonder, Odwa Ndungane, Paul Jordaan, Heimar Williams, S'bura Sithole, Fred Zeilinga, Conrad Hoffmann, Tera Mtembu (captain), Etienne Oosthuizen, Jacques Botes, Stephan Lewies, Wiehan Hay, Lourens Adriaanse, Kyle Cooper, Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: Monde Hadebe, Matt Stevens, Marco Wentzel, Johan Meyer, Cameron Wright, Lionel Cronje, Tim Swiel. – Sapa