Plumtree brings in the big guns for WP clash

Sharks coach John Plumtree has been able to bring in his Springboks as well as Stefan Terblanche who is over his elbow injury for the Currie Cup match against Western Province at Newlands.

Terblanche will resume as captain in his now-familiar outside centre position with last week’s stand-in captain Keegan Daniel dropping to the bench for some rest.

With Springboks Adi Jacobs, Bismarck du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira available after their conditioning phase, and Ryan Kankowski back at eighthman, a number of injury issues have resolved themselves with squad depth coming to the fore at the most opportune time.

With Keegan Daniel playing off the bench and Willem Alberts carrying a knock which sees him get a break this weekend, the loose-forward trio takes on a slightly different complexion with Michael Rhodes partnering Jacques Botes on either side of Kankowski who will earn his 50th Currie Cup cap for The Sharks on Saturday.

Alistair Hargreaves is back and he will form a new lock partnership with Gerhard Mostert while the front row is an all-Springbok affair with the du Plessis brothers joining Tendai Mtawarira.

Having started all 10 matches he has played this tournament, missing three through injury, fullback Louis Ludik will make way for Patrick Lambie who played just on 20 minutes as a reserve last week, while Andre Pretorius (pictured) retains the Number 10 jersey this week, to be partnered by Rory Kockott at scrumhalf.

“It’s crunch time now,” explains coach John Plumtree on the Sharks website.

“If you look at our match, it’s the pick of the games of the weekend and probably has got the most riding on it. Having their Boks back will certainly give Western Province lots of confidence, Habana, Fourie and Schalk Burger are key men in the Boks, certainly they are key men in the Province side.”

With the Springbok players only rejoining The Sharks on Wednesday, the coach admitted that integrating them back into the side had not been problematic because they have been part of the team despite not playing over the past month or so.

“It hasn’t been hard preparing because we always knew we’d get the Boks back for the week before the semis and Bismarck and Beast have already played in this Currie Cup which has been great for us. So has JP but he’s carrying an injury and only one who hasn’t had any game time is Adi Jacobs, so it’s a real trial for him on the weekend.

“His challenge is to come back at his best and should he do so, that will be great for us.”

The Sharks

15. Patrick Lambie , 14. Odwa Ndungane , 13. Stefan Terblanche (Captain) , 12. Andries Strauss , 11. Lwazi Mvovo , 10. Andre Pretorius , 9. Rory Kockott , 8. Ryan Kankowski , 7. Michael Rhodes , 6. Jacques Botes , 5. Alistair Hargreaves , 4. Gerhard Mostert , 3. Jannie du Plessis , 2. Bismarck du Plessis , 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements , 16. Craig Burden , 17. Eugene van Staden , 18. Steven Sykes , 19. Keegan Daniel , 20. Charl McLeod , 21. Adrian Jacobs , 22. Louis Ludik ,

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