No armchair ride for Barney's Army
No armchair ride for Barney's ArmySHARE
If John Smit thought the Sharks would go easy on his team in Friday's charity match, he was mistaken.
Sharks coach John Plumtree has named a very powerful selection to take on 'Barney's Army' in a match to launch the John Smit foundation – established by the World Cup-winning former Springbok captain to assist a number of his chosen charities.
While Smit will field a motley crew of retired and semi-retired internationals – with a few active internationals for good measure – the Sharks have named what could be termed their 'best available' team for Friday's outing in front of a nearly sold-out out Kings Park in Durban.
With 10 players missing to the Springbok cause, Fred Michalak away with France, while Pieter-Steph du Toit and Paul Jordaan are currently with the South African side competing at the IRB Junior World Championship in Cape Town, the Sharks coach has been forced into making a number of changes.
However, he has still been able to retain a core of Super Rugby players – a strong side with a mix of youth thrown in for good measure.
"We see this as an opportunity for some young players," Plumtree said.
"For the guys playing Super Rugby, it's important because there isn't a lot of rugby this month and as far as preparation for the Bulls game in a few weeks' time goes, this game is important for these guys to get 80 minutes under the belt."
Plumtree added that although the game will probably be played in a friendly spirit, he was also hoping for some "really good intensity" and flow in the game so they can get a good work out.
Jean Deysel will captain the side alongside two young loose forward, Lubabalo Mtembu and Francois Kleinhans – the latter having represented the Sharks in last year's Currie Cup campaign.
Craig Burden will enjoy a start in between props Dale Chadwick and Wiehahn Herbst, while Jandré Marais and Anton Bresler are pressed into second row duty.
Charl McLeod is in his familiar scrumhalf position, partnering Riaan Viljoen who has been selected at flyhalf. Meyer Bosman and Tim Whitehead form the centre pairing with an exciting back three consisting of S'bura Sithole, Odwa Ndungane and Louis Ludik.
Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Sibusiso Sithole, 10 Riaan Viljoen, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu, 7 Jean Deysel (captain), 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Jandré Marais, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Julian Redelinghuys, 18 Peet Marais, 19 Chris Cloete, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Gouws Prinsloo, 22 Rosko Specman.
Barney's Army: 15 Percy Montgomery, 14 Brent Russell, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Marius Joubert, 11 Joe Maddock, 10 Butch James, 9 Mark McMillan, 8 Shaun Sowerby, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Julian Salvi, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Jason White, 3 Faan Rautenbach, 2 John Smit, 1 Martin Scelzo.
Replacements: 16 Peter Dixon, 17 Danie Minnie, 18 Rob Linde, 19 Hottie Louw, 20 Rory Kockott, 21 Stephen Donald, 22 Stefan Terblanche, 23 Heimar Williams.
Date: Friday, June 19
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 19.05 (17.05 GMT)
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Archie Sehlako (South Africa), Tahla Simo Ntshakaza (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)