Steyn's comeback confirmed
Steyn's comeback confirmedSHARE
The return of World Cup-winning Springbok utility back Frans Steyn was made formal on Wednesday.
Steyn was named at inside centre in the Sharks team that will host the Free State Cheetahs in the Currie Cup semifinal in Durban on Saturday.
Steyn will start in the midfield, alongside Louis Ludik, in a revised backline.
The 26-year-old has been sidelined since he underwent surgery in May for a lower leg injury, diagnosed at the time as 'compartment syndrome'.
Steyn, who has played 53 Tests since making his debut in 2007, the same year he won the World Cup as a 19-year-old, replaced Heimar Williams in the No.12 jersey.
Other changes in the backline will see Ludik come in for Tim Whitehead at outside centre, while Patrick Lambie will start at flyhalf ahead of Fred Zeilinga – after playing off the bench in the final regular-season match against Western Province last week.
The injury-enforced absence of veteran Bok prop Jannie du Plessis, who suffered a hand/wrist injury at practice on Monday, will see Wiehahn Herbst start at tighthead prop.
Willem Alberts also still remains sidelined due to a neck injury he suffered against New Zealand in the Rugby Championship.
The rest of the team is unchanged.
Sharks forwards coach Brad Macleod-Henderson said there was no hesitation in starting with Steyn, despite his lengthy absence.
"Frans is a world-class player and we are lucky to have him, although Heimar has done really well for us all season," Macleod-Henderson said.
"So we're just fortunate to be able to see both of them in action in the semifinal."
Macleod-Henderson said they are expecting a very tough game from the Cheetahs.
"They've got a big forward pack and some strong ball-carriers that we will need to take care of," Macleod-Henderson said.
"We must make sure we are strong in the set-piece and play to the structures we know we can."
Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Louis Ludik, 12 Francois Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Peet Marais, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Danie Mienie, 18 Stephan Lewies, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Fred Zeilinga, 22 Heimar Williams.
Date: Saturday, October 19
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Cobus Wessels
TMO: Deon van Blommestein