Two changes for Sharks

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iol spt aug27 Hoffman-Sharks Gallo Images Conrad Hoffmann will make his full debut for the Sharks when they face the Pumas in a Currie Cup encounter in Nelspruit. Photo by Steve Haag / Gallo Images

Durban – Conrad Hoffmann will make his full debut for the Sharks when they face the Pumas in a Currie Cup encounter in Nelspruit on Friday.

The former Western Province scrumhalf, injured for the start of the campaign, takes over from rookie Cameron Wright in the number nine jersey having moved to Durban from the Brumbies last month.

He made his first appearance for the Sharks last weekend, when he impressed off the bench in a 19-16 win over the Free State Cheetahs at Kings Park.

The other change is at lock, where JC Astle replaces veteran Marco Wentzel, who is unavailable.

“Marco is away for a couple of weeks, but thankfully JC is available again (after his injury),” assistant coach Paul Anthony said.

“He's done well for us and I've been very impressed with him. He's an intelligent player and will take over the calling of the line-outs.”

Among the replacements, Thomas du Toit makes way for Johan Meyer.

The defending champions beat the Pumas 34-17 on home soil earlier in the season and forwards coach Anthony is expecting an equally tight affair.

“We only played them two weeks back, so neither side is really going to change all that much in that time,” he said.

“We know what we're going to get from them, but we have to counter that. What they do bring is a huge physicality to the game. They're a well-drilled side who are hard on defence, aggressive off the line, and so we have to match that.

“We can't afford to spill ball because they are very quick on the counter and have some real pace in the backline. So we have to cut out the errors and ensure we are in their faces and match them up front.”

The Sharks: SP Marais, Odwa Ndungane, S'bura Sithole, Paul Jordaan, Tonderai Chavhanga, Fred Zeilinga, Conrad Hoffmann, Tera Mtembu (captain), Francois Kleinhans, Jacques Botes, JC Astle, Etienne Oosthuizen, Matt Stevens, Kyle Cooper, Dale Chadwick.

Replacements: Franco Marais, Lourens Adriaanse, Johan Meyer, Stephan Lewies, Cameron Wright, Heimar Williams, Lionel Cronje.– Sapa

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