Sharks shift Steyn to fullback

Wed, 03 Apr 2013 09:08
Large frans steyn sharks presser3 Large plumtreetraining630 Large franssteynsharkstraining5 Large john plumtree whistle Large franssteynsharkstraining6

Sharks coach John Plumtree moved Springbok stalwart Frans Steyn to fullback for the Super Rugby crunch match with the Crusaders in Durban on Friday.

Sharks coach John Plumtree moved Springbok stalwart Frans Steyn to fullback for the Super Rugby crunch match with the Crusaders in Durban on Friday.

Fitness doubts over regular fullback Louis Ludik - who has been bracketed in with S'bura Sithole on the bench, pending a late fitness test - has prompted the decision to name Steyn in the No.15 jersey.

"He brings a long kicking game," Plumtree said of Steyn's move to the back.

"Defensively he's very sound and he'll get more space for attacking, so it will be good to see how he goes.

"Riaan Viljoen is also a big fullback to it's good to have those three guys."

Other changes will see Jannie du Plessis start at tighthead prop, with Wiehahn Herbst dropping to the bench in the only change to the forward pack that featured in the record win over the Rebels a fortnight ago.

The loss of Lwazi Mvovo to a hand injury means JP Pietersen moves across to the left wing, Odwa Ndungane slotting in on the other.

Pieter-Steph du Toit will continue in the second row, as his development is given a real test against a quality side like the Crusaders.

After last week's line-out problems suffered by the Stormers, the Sharks are well-aware of the importance of getting the set-piece functioning and Du Toit will have a big role to play.

"You can't have a meltdown in an area like the line-outs," Plumtree told a media briefing in Durban.

"It takes good, hard work to get into an attacking situation, and then to lose ball puts you under immense pressure," Plumtree added.

"And you don't want to be doing that against a team like the Crusaders who are able to hold on to the ball for long periods of time.

"The line-out has been a big focus for us, not only for this match but throughout the competition.

"We're operating at around 84 percent and we've been going fine, but it is going to be tough, the Crusaders boast two All Black locks.

"There is a mixture of reasons why the Stormers line-out failed, it's not one person, it takes a good throw, a good lift, a good jump and hopefully the same thing won't happen to us."

Sharks: 15 Francois Steyn, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 JP Pietersen, 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 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Ryan Kankowski, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Riaan Viljoen, 22 Louis Ludik/S'bura Sithole.

Date: Friday, April 5
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT; 06.00, Saturday, April 6 NZ time)
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius Jonker (South Africa), Reuben Rossouw (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

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