CAPE TOWN: Springboks Tendai Mtawarira and Jean-Luc du Preez have been given a break by Sharks coach Robert du Preez for Friday night’s Super Rugby clash against the Bulls in Durban.
Mtawarira started all three June Tests against France, and Jean-Luc du Preez was also involved in each match, and wore the No 8 jersey in last weekend’s 35-12 victory at Ellis Park that secured a 3-0 whitewash for the Boks. Due to the short six-day turnaround, Jean-Luc’s father and Sharks coach Robert opted to leave out the duo, although Bok tighthead back-up Coenie Oosthuizen has been called on and will start at No 3 against the Bulls.
Oosthuizen made a big impact off the bench for the Boks, and will hope to push for a starting spot in the Rugby Championship in August by impressing for the Sharks in the final stages of the Super Rugby season.
With Patrick Lambie still sidelined by concussion, Garth April will start at flyhalf at Kings Park, with Curwin Bosch donning the No 15 jersey after starring at No 10 for most of the season.
Bosch is more comfortable than April at fullback, but the former may feel he should’ve been given the pivot post. Rhyno Smith is still out with a pectoral muscle tear, though, and Lwazi Mvovo is believed to have a minor injury, so that forced coach Du Preez’s hand somewhat.
André Esterhuizen returns at inside centre following his six-week suspension, and he is partnered by S’bura Sithole in midfield in the absence of the injured Lukhanyo Am.
Sithole has been continuously overlooked for Super Rugby action over the last few years, and was rumoured to join the Stormers for this season, but the move didn’t happen. So the former Blitzbok would want to prove to his coach that he should be a regular starter.
The in-form Thomas du Toit takes over Mtawarira’s No 1 jersey, while a new-look loose trio sees Tera Mtembu back at blindside flank for Jean-Luc du Preez.
The suspended Ruan Botha is replaced by a Springbok in Stephan Lewies at lock.
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 S’bura Sithole, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Sbu Nkosi, 10 Garth April, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Tera Mtembu, 6 Philip van der Walt (captain), 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit. Bench: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Marius Louw.