DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - FEBRAURY 28, during The Sharks training session and press conference at Mr Price Kings Park on February 28, 2012 in Durban, South Africa Photo by Steve Haag / Gallo Images

The Sharks have opted for continuity ahead of their Super Rugby encounter against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday, with just one change made to their starting XV.

Fullback Louis Ludik, who had been doubtful all week, failed to recover in time from a bicep injury sustained against the Force last week.

Riaan Viljoen receives a starting berth against his former team in place of Ludik.

There was a boost for coach John Plumtree at flyhalf, where Patrick Lambie had recovered from a knock to the head which he picked up in the last week, forcing him to be replaced after 40


The only other change was on the bench where Willem Alberts, dropped recently due to a lack of form since recovering from an injured shoulder, returned in place of rookie Pieter-Steph du Toit.

The Sharks are in sixth place on the overall standings and will be looking to consolidate that position with a win in the Free State.

Plumtree said his team were prepared for an open encounter against the Cheetahs.

“The Cheetahs are an exciting attacking side, although we obviously like to attack as well,” Plumtree said.

“So, if both sides look after the ball at the breakdown and Jonathan Kaplan rules it really well at the breakdown, we could get a really open game.”

The Sharks team: Riaan Viljoen, JP Pietersen, Paul Jordaan, Tim Whitehead, Lwazi Mvovo, Patrick Lambie, Charl McLeod, Keegan Daniel (captain), Marcell Coetzee, Jacques Botes, Anton Bresler, Steven Sykes, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: Craig Burden, Wiehahn Herbst, Willem Alberts, Jean Deysel, Ryan Kankowski, Frederic Michalak, Meyer Bosman. – Sapa