Beast Mtawarira will be making his 156th appearance in Super Rugby for the Sharks tomorrow. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix
DURBAN 
 The Sharks have been pretty consistent in their team selection thus far in Super Rugby, but if there was one game where they mixed things up, it was against the Bulls last time out.

This time around, there is not much tinkering happening with coach Robert du Preez only making two changes to the side that beat the Melbourne Rebels at the Shark Tank last weekend.

On the wing, Sbu Nkosi, who has been in scintillating form, is given a much deserved break as the Sharks call on their veteran winger Lwazi Mvovo.

Luke Stringer, after making his Super Rugby debut last week off the bench, gets a start this weekend in the place of last year’s Under-19 captain Pepsi Buthelezi.

Stalwart prop Beast Mtawarira stands on the cusp of making history as this week he equals the retired Adriaan Strauss’s record for being the most capped South African Super Rugby player.

After tomorrow's match, the pair would have both featured in 156 appearances in the competition. Strauss represented the Cheetahs and then the Bulls, but Mtawarira has accomplished this record at just the Sharks since making his debut in 2007 and will break the South African record in his next appearance after tomorrow.

Speaking of experience, the Sharks also welcome back hard grafter Philip van der Walt, who appears on the bench ready to finish things off for the Durbanites after recovering from an injury sustained while on duty in Japan.

There is also a place for Craig Burden, who was named on the bench last week but was injured in training before the Rebels game.

The burly hooker started his career as a centre and played for the Sharks between 2006 and 2013 before embarking on a five-year career in France, representing Toulon, Montpellier and Stade Français.

Van der Walt and Burden are two valuable assets to call on for the Sharks, who showed against the Bulls last time out that their bench can make an impact as the introduction of Andre Esterhuizen in the last clash between the sides helped the Durban side almost turn things around.

Esterhuizen's introduction in that game handed the Sharks an added physical edge that was much needed.

Knowing that they were light on aggression and abrasiveness in Pretoria, the Sharks will no doubt be ready to front up to the Bulls tomorrow.

However, the Bulls are a wounded beast this time around after they were torn apart by the New Zealand Chiefs at home last week.

@DarrynJack216


The Mercury

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