Beast back, but no Bismarck
Beast back, but no BismarckSHARE
The Sharks have their Beast back, but the Bismarck remains stranded as injuries continue disrupt the Durban-based team.
Sharks coach John Plumtree made a number of changes, all injury related, to the side that will front up to the South African conference-leading Bulls at Kings Park on Saturday.
There is one enforced change to the backline, with Springbok JP Pietersen out after undergoing groin surgery on Wednesday.
Piet Lindeque, on loan from the Varsity Cup champions Pretoria University and having featured on the wing, will start at outside centre in yet another new midfield combination – where he will partner Meyer Bosman.
There are two changes to the forward pack.
Tendai Mtawarira is back to full fitness after a calf injury and has been included in the starting line-up.
JC Janse van Rensburg, on loan from the Lions, has returned to Johannesburg after the completion of the agreement between the two franchises.
He was joined on the flight back to Johannesburg by fellow Lions player Derrick Minnie.
In the second row Anton Bresler injured his shoulder in training on Thursday.
Pieter-Steph du Toit will partner Franco van der Merwe in the second row, with Jandré Marais providing cover off the bench.
The only other change sees Sean Robinson back in the team, covering the back three off the bench.
"Butch James and Bismarck du Plessis aren't fit yet, so they haven't been included," coach John Plumtree said of the two Boks who started training with the team this week.
"This is a big game for both teams," he said, adding: "The Bulls have been playing really well lately, their forward have dominated and they're enjoying momentum.
"They've also dominated territory through their kicking game, they've dominated up front and we know it's going to be a really tough game for us.
"Although our preparation this week has been quite short, we have trained well, and we're looking forward to putting our plans into place and the boys can go out there and enjoy the massive clash that this game is.
"It's great to be back home, to play at our stadium and hopefully we'll get a really nice crowd on Saturday."
Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Piet Lindeque, 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 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Jandré Marais, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Tera Mtembu, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Sean Robinson.
Date: Saturday, May 25
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Reuben Rossouw (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)