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Steyn axed for Rebels

Wed, 20 Mar 2013 13:29
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We want to play better
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John Plumtree has wielded his axe and Springbok Francois Steyn seems to be the major casualty ahead of the Sharks clash with the Rebels in Durban on Saturday.

The centre has battled to find his form this season and has not been the same player since returning to the Sharks from France.

He was named captain of the side in the absence of Keegan Daniel and this seemed to influence his game negatively, although he did lead the Sharks to wins against the Stormers and Cheetahs.

John Plumtree explained: "Meyer Bosman deserves an opportunity too and we’ve taken Frans out to give him quite a big week of conditioning."

Hopefully a better conditioned Steyn will be able to rediscover the form that the rugby fraternity knows he possesses.

Plumtree did not sugar-coat the Sharks performance and believed that changes were needed.

"There have been changes because of what I saw as poor performance."

Along with Steyn, Ryan Kankowski is another player that makes way for Jacques Botes - who seemed to spark a bit of life in the side when he came off the bench against the Brumbies.

The coach has rewarded a number of the younger players that came off the bench against the Brumbies with starting positions.

"I was really happy with what Pieter-Steph du Toit brought to the team last week and we’re continuing his development by giving him a start, it’s the same with Kyle Cooper."

Along with these two, Wiehahn Herbst also gets a start but this is due to Jannie Du Plessis' injury worry as well as the anticipation of the birth of his child.

The Sharks have battled in the last few weeks to really penetrate defences with the characteristic big runners and that has meant that they have battled to create any forward momentum.

"We’re a bit down in firepower, we’re missing quality players and we know we’re not at full strength, but we still have a good side.

"But it is a different team and we’ve played really good opposition and we’ve won three games and only lost one, that’s not all bad," Plumtree said.

The New Zealander was aware of how the Brumbies dismantled his side last weekend and is making sure that it does not happen again.

"We want to play better, we had a lesson on the weekend and it’s how we respond to that lesson that will characterise us.

The Sharks have spent the week really honing their own game as a way of trying to improve their own game, which in turn, should be able to help them counter the opposition better.

"We’re in a situation where we’ve put a huge focus into what we’re trying to achieve as a team because we haven’t clicked yet. So no disrespect to the Rebels but we have to worry about ourselves."

The Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Keegan Daniel (Captain), 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Jannie du Plessis, 18 Jandre Marais, 19 Ryan Kankowski, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Francois Steyn, 22 Riaan Viljoen.

Date: Saturday, March 23
Vanue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 17.05 (15.05 GMT)
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Reuben Rossouw (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

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