Mvovo Returns For Sharks

The Sharks travel to Loftus to play the Bulls, hoping to make it four Super Rugby matches on the bounce this Friday.  Director of Rugby Gary Gold has opted to go with Willie Le Roux at fullback with JP Pietersen on the right wing.  Lwazi Mvovo returns on the left wing while Paul Jordaan and Andre Esterhuizen form the centre pairing.

Joe Pietersen and Michael Claassens are Gold’s halfbacks.  He says:  ‘Another very tough challenge awaits our new generation Cell C Sharks team this Friday, made trickier by the fact that it’s a short turnaround before the match.  Our preparation needs to be very precise this week, in terms of what we do.  We are comfortable with the plans we have put in place.  The Bulls were fantastic against the Rebels and were particularly impressive in many areas.  This is a big SA derby and we’re under no illusions about the physicality they are going to bring.’  Daniel Du Preez has been named at eighthman with Philip Van Der Walt and Marcell Coetzee on the side of the scrum.

There is no place for Jean-Luc Du Preez, as Gold explains: ‘Jean-Luc has a minor foot injury, which creates an opportunity for Keegan Daniel to be included on the bench, having recently returned to Durban.’  Stephan Lewies and Etienne Oosthuizen will scrum down behind captain Tendai Mtawarira, Kyle Cooper and Lourens Adriaanse.  Gold says:  ‘We want to improve each week and keep on building as a team.  We are really keen to keep the momentum going now and, as a result, our confidence will keep growing.  It’s the reason we’ve rotated a few guys this week.  We have a huge amount of confidence in the guys that have come off the bench and they have made a significant difference to our games at critical stages.  There were a few sore bodies after the Stormers match, so it made sense to make a few changes.  These changes are not disruptive, but it does mean that other guys that have put their hands up have an opportunity to start this week, rather than come off the bench.’

Keegan Daniel is set to play his first Super Rugby match since 2014 and, if he comes off the bench, he will earn his 209th cap for the Sharks (Super Rugby caps – 105 and Currie Cup caps – 103).

Shark match day squad:

15. Willie Le Roux
14. JP Pietersen
13. Paul Jordaan
12. Andre Esterhuizen
11. Lwazi Mvovo
10. Joe Pietersen
9. Michael Claassens
8. Daniel Du Preez
7. Philip Van Der Walt
6. Marcell Coetzee
5. Stephan Lewies
4. Etienne Oosthuizen
3. Lourens Adriaanse
2. Kyle Cooper
1. Tendai Mtawarira (C)

Replacements
16. Franco Marais
17. Juan Schoeman
18. Coenie Oosthuizen
19. Hyron Andrews
20. Keegan Daniel
21. Cobus Reinach
22. Garth April
23. Odwa Ndungane

Photo credit: UAR/Steve Haag