No Change for table topping Sharks (team sheet)

Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White has retained the starting line up that beat the Reds on Saturday for this week’s Super TeamsheetsRugby match against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.

White made just two changes to the team that defeated the Reds last week, both on the bench and JP Pietersen will make his 100th game for the franchise having made his debut in 2006.

JP Pietersen He has scored 33 tries in Super Rugby and 17 in 42 Currie Cup games and boasts a Rugby World Cup winners medal from 2007 and has been capped 51 times at Test level.

“It is a big achievement for a guy that plays 100 times for his franchise,” said White on the Sharks site

“I have no doubt that it ‘s not only what he brings on the field, but also what he brings to the rest of the group off the field. I ‘m sure it will be a special occasion for him. I have no doubt JP, being as popular a player as he is to this group, a lot of the players will want to do well for him as well.”

Heimar Williams drops to Vodacom Cup for game time and Tim Swiel has been named as his replacement.

Andre Esterhuizen replaces Jaco van Tonder, and whichever player does come on will feature in his first match at Super Rugby level for his debut.

Sharks

15. SP Marais , 14. JP Pietersen , 13. S ‘bura Sithole , 12. Frans Steyn , 11. Lwazi Mvovo , 10. Patrick Lambie , 9. Cobus Reinach , 8. Ryan Kankowski , 7. Willem Alberts , 6. Mar oetzee , 5. Stephan Lewies , 4. Anton Bresler , 3. Jannie du Plessis , 2. Bismarck du Plessis (Captain) , 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: 16. Kyle Cooper , 17. Dale Chadwick , 18. Lourens Adriaanse , 19. Etienne Oosthuizen , 20. Tera Mtembu , 21. Charl McLeod , 22. Tim Swiel , 23. Andre Esterhuizen

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Sharks stick to winning formula: team sheet

TeamsheetsSharks Director of Rugby Jake White subscribes to the adage that you don’t change a winning formula.

White retained the same team that beat the Bulls last week for the Round Two Super Rugby encounter with the Hurricanes in Durban on Saturday.

Apart from the continuity that comes with an unchanged team, the Sharks will take a lot of confidence out of their impressive win over the Bulls – against a Hurricanes team that has been patchy in pre-season and will play their first competition match.

Add to that the fact that the Wellington-based franchise flew more that 14,000 kilometres for a two-match tour that will also see them face the Stormers, many pundits feel the Sharks will have a distinct advantage.

However, White pointed out that it is by choice that the Hurricanes tour so early in the season.

“Touring early for anyone is either very good or very bad,” the Sharks mentor said.

“You can either get some points away from home then take those points back home, and some sides have proved that it works for them, or you miss out.

“The Hurricanes have asked SANZAR for this, because for the last couple of years they have been playing in South Africa first up.

“They want to tour early.

“So, it’s probably one of their requests, because you’re allowed certain requests to SANZAR. I’m sure they want to get their tour done and dusted early on.

“Obviously mentally they like to tour early and as much as we think it’s a bonus [them coming here early], maybe it’s what they want.”

Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Heimar Williams, 23 S’bura Sithole.

Date: Saturday, February 22
Venue: Kings Park, Durban

England prop to play for Sharks

Former England and Lions prop Matt Stevens has agreed to return home to Durban and play Super Rugby for the Sharks at RW Stampthe end of this season.

According to reports in the Daily Mail Stevens has agreed to leave English Premiership Rugby club Saracens and end his career in Durban where he was born.

The thirty-one-year-old former international has signed the deal with the Sharks who played a Super Rugby warm up match in London last month.

The English Premiership club has strong ties with South African rugby but of late there has been a very strong link with the Sharks after Sharks CEO John Smit ended his career with the English club and then returned to the Sharks.

Stevens can play on either side of the scrum but will have a battle on his hands for selection as the Sharks have first-choice Springbok props Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira and Jannie du Plessis in their squad

The South African born England prop played 44 Tests for England after he moved to Bath in 2002 and was a British and Irish Lion in 2005 and 2013.

Stevens was tested positive for recreational drugs in 2009 and was banned for two years but came back an inspired player and won a Premiership Rugby title in 2011 with Saracens.

Sharks name strong side for Super Rugby openner

Springbok Ryan Kankowski returns to the Sharks team for their opening match of the Super Rugby season, against the Bulls Teamsheetsin Durban on Saturday.

Kankowski, one of 11 Boks in the starting XV, will start at No.8 after he returned from his stint in Japan last week.

It will be his first starting role, after he played off the bench in a warm-up match against the Lions last Friday.

Lock Anton Bresler is the only non-Bok in the pack.
Fullback SP Marais, centre Paul Jordaan and scrumhalf Cobus Reinach are the only uncapped players among the backs.

There are another three Boks on the Sharks bench – Lourens Adriaanse, Jean Deysel and Charl McLeod.

Sharks Director of Rugby has had a consistent theme this week – warning his charges against complacency, despite them being overwhelming favourites.

“Let’s take nothing away from the Bulls, they’ve won the competition three times and that’s more than any other South African side, The challenge is that a team needs to dominate, you need to be able to beat those teams. The challenge that we sit with is if we’re not good enough to beat the Bulls at home in this round, the chances are we will struggle against the likes of the Blues and Crusaders in Auckland and Christchurch. That’s what it takes to win this competition, you have to beat teams like that and the Bulls at home.” White said.
Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Heimar Williams, 23 S’bura Sithole.

Date: Saturday, February 15 Venue: Kings Park, Durban Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)

Four changes for Sharks vs Force (team sheet)

Sharks coach John Plumtree has made four changes to his side that lost to the Reds in Brisbane last week.

–          Jannie du Plessis starts inplace of Wiehahn Herbst at tighthead prop.Teamsheets

–          Pieter-Steph du Toit drops to the bench.

–          Anton Bresler starts at lock.

–          Willem Alberst wins his first start of the campaign.

–          Jean Deysel drops to the bench.

–          Odwa Ndungane replaces Piet Lindeque on the wing.

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

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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 (C) , 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 / Lubabalo Mtembu , 20. Jean Deysel , 21. Tian Meyer , 22. Piet Lindeque

Steyn’s season over

The Sharks have been dealt a devastating blow to their play off hopes with Springbok Frans Steyn being ruled out Rugby Injuryof action for the rest of the season.

Steyn underwent emergency surgery after injuring his leg against the 25 – 22 Loss to the Highlanders last weekend and while there was no break the Bok has been in severe pain.

New Zealand doctors have diagnosed the problem as “compartment syndrome” which is a build-up of pressure in the limb which needed to be relieved.

Steyn is due to fly home on Thursday after another procedure to close the wound.

This means that Steyn will miss the rest of the Super Rugby season, but he may be availible for selection for the Springboks Rugby Championship side.

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Sharks drop captain as they regroup after injuries

Sharks coach John Plumtree has been forced into a number of changes as the head to Hamilton to take on reigning champions the Chiefs.Teamsheets

–          Tendai Mtawarira is replaced by Wiehahn Herbst in the front row.

–          Craig Burden replaces Kyle Cooper.

–          Pieter-Steph du Tout shifts back to lock.

–          Derrick Minnie starts at openside flank.

–          Regular captain Keegan Daniels is dropped to the bench.

–          Jean Deysel captains the side.

–          Lubabalo Mtembu gets his first start in Super Rugby at no.8.

–          Charl McLeod starts at no.9 with Cobus Reinach dropping to the bench.

–          Piet Lindeque starts on the wing.

–          Frans Steyn replaces the injured Paul Jordaan in the centres.

The Sharks travel to Hamilton to take on the Chiefs, KO 10:35 NZ (09:35 CAT, 08:35 BST)

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Sharks

15. Riaan Viljoen , 14. Odwa Ndungane , 13. Francois Steyn , 12. Meyer Bosman , 11. Piet Lindeque , 10. Patrick Lambie , 9. Charl McLeod , 8. Lubabalo Mtembu , 7. Jean Deysel (C) , 6. Derick Minnie , 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit , 4. Anton Bresler , 3. Jannie du Plessis , 2. Craig Burden , 1. Wiehahn Herbst

Replacements , 16. Kyle Cooper , 17. Danie Mienie , 18. Franco van der Merwe , 19. Keegan Daniel , 20. Marcell Coetzee , 21. Cobus Reinach , 22. S’bura Sithole