Skinstad set for S14 return

Former Springbok captain Bobby Skinstad will play his first game of Super rugby in almost four years when he turns out for the Sharks against the Highlanders in a Super 14 Round Three match in Durban on Saturday.

Sharks coach Dick Muir has confirmed that Skinstad, who last played Super rugby for the Cats in 2003 and has played mostly “social” rugby in England in the last few years, will most likely be named on the bench for the encounter with the Highlanders.

Muir has so far resisted the temptation to bring Skinstad, a huge drawcard, into the Sharks match-day squad.

The Sharks coach made it clear that he first wanted the former Bok captain to obtain the required physical and fitness standards.

After an impressive outing for the Wildebeest, a Sharks second string side, in a curtain raiser last week, Muir is happy that Skinstad is ready for a part-time reintroduction into Super rugby.

A couple of the Sharks’ other big name stars are also likely to be “rested” on the bench against the under-performing Highlanders.

Captain John Smit and fly-half Butch James are also likely to be on the replacement bench.

This will mean that young Francois Steyn could start at fly-half this week, after playing on the wing in the opening rounds. Steyn, regarded as one of the finds of 2006, produced some of his best performances at fly-half for the Sharks in the Currie Cup last year and many regard him as being at his best in the number 10 jersey.

With Smit relegated to the bench Bismarck du Plessis will start at hooker.

AJ Venter is likely to take over the captaincy from Smit.

Ruan Pienaar could also be back in action this week, after missing last week’s game through injury.

Springbok prop BJ Botha, who also missed the match against the Waratahs last week through a hamstring injury, and wing Odwa Ndungane (ankle injury) are in a race against time to be fit.

365 Digital

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