DURBAN – The Sharks, in an attempt to bounce back against the high-flying Rebels, have made a few changes for their Friday morning clash in Melbourne.
They will be without services of centre André Esterhuizen, who was injured in the game against the Brumbies last week, but welcome back veteran prop Tendai Mtawarira.
Mtawarira was a late withdrawal in the week leading up to the Brumbies game, having been named to start. It saw Mzamo Majola having to fly out on Thursday night before the game to take a spot on the bench, with Juan Schoeman wearing the No 1 jersey.
But the Springbok prop is over the niggle and ready to go. However, Esterhuizen has picked up his own injury.
“We have a couple of niggles, André Esterhuizen is out this weekend with an ankle sprain, but Marius Louw is an able replacement, while Beast Mtawarira will be back for the game,” Sharks coach Robert du Preez confirmed.
“That’s rugby, I guess. Injuries are part and parcel of the sport, but we have depth in the squad to deal with those concerns.”
In the other changes, Sbu Nkosi comes in along with Lwazi Mvovo on the other wing to replace Makazole Mapimpi and Kobus van Wyk, while in the forwards, Wian Vosloo shifts to the bench, with Jacques Vermeulen taking his place to accommodate Jean-Luc du Preez, who returns to the starting line-up.
“This team is a team with a lot of character,” the coach stated. “Super Rugby is a tough competition, so you have to take the good with the bad and move on from disappointment, which we have.
“There’s really a good feeling and energy in the camp. Our preparation has been on target, although it has been a short turnaround for us, given that the two games are only six days apart and we also have to factor in travel.”
15 Curwin Bosch 14 Sbu Nkosi 13 Lukhanyo Am 12 Marius Louw 11 Lwazi Mvovo 10 Robert du Preez 9 Louis Schreuder 8 Tera Mtembu 7 Jean-Luc du Preez 6 Jacques Vermeulen 5 Stephan Lewies 4 Ruan Botha (captain) 3 Thomas du Toit 2 Akker van der Merwe 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Bench: 16 Franco Marais 17 Juan Schoeman 18 John-Hubert Meyer 19 Hyron Andrews 20 Wian Vosloo 21 Cameron Wright 22 Kobus van Wyk 23 Garth April.