Alberts hopes to ignite Sharks

Tue, 14 May 2013 08:28
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The Sharks play the Western Force in their last game of their overseas tour and hopefully the return of Willem Alberts to the starting XV will be the tonic that they need.

The Sharks play the Western Force in their last game of their overseas tour and hopefully the return of Willem Alberts to the starting XV will be the tonic that they need.

The men from Durban have been a shadow of the side they were last season and have slumped to a five-game losing streak and languish in 11th spot on the Super Rugby log with the chances of a play-off spot all but gone.

The game this weekend will be one of pride after they have not strung a good performance together since the early stages of the season.

The Force have been a tough nut to crack this season and Sharks coach John Plumtree is aware that they pose a much larger threat than their log position suggests.

"They beat the Crusaders, they lost by one point to the Chiefs, the 2012 champs, and with those results, they have some belief.

"We know it’s going to be a tough game, they’re a side that’s clearly working very hard for each other and we know it is going to be a really tough task from our side," Plumtree admitted.

Amonst the changes from the side that got beaten by the Reds last week, Jannie Du Plessis returns to the starting XV in place of Wiehahn Herbst and Anton Bresler comes into partner Franco van der Merwe in the lock position with Pieter-Steph du Toit shifting to the bench.

The most prominant change in the side sees Willem Alberts returning - after a cameo off the bench last weekend - to the starting XV in the place of Jean Deysel.

There is only one change in the backline as last week's Super Rugby centurion, Odwa Ndungane, replaces Piet Lindeque on the wing.

The Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (Captain), 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19 Derick Minnie / Tera Mtembu, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Piet Lindeque.

Date: Friday, May 17
Venue: NIB Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 19.45 (11.45 GMT; 13.45 SA time)
Referee: James Leckie (Australia)
Assistant referees: Ian Smith (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
TMO: Steve Leszczynski (Australia).

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Team P W D L Pts
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Force 15 2 0 13 13
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Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
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Team P W D L Pts
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Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9