Du Plessis starts for Sharks against Highlanders

Sharks Director Rugby Gary Gold has named his Super Rugby team to play the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday with Bismarck du Plessis starting for the Durban side.

Du Plessis has completed his month long suspension for kicking an opposition player in the head so he is free to return to the team.

While Du Plessis returns to the side, Marco Wentzel retains the Sharks captaincy as ther former captain says he wants to focus on his game rather than the captaincy.

“Bismarck has requested to relinquish the captaincy to concentrate on his return, ” said Gold.

“It’s unbelievably noble of him to have this attitude. Marco Wentzel has done a good job and to ensure continuity, he will retain the captaincy.

“I am thoroughly impressed with Bismarck’s attitude since returning to the side. He’s positive and eager to contribute to the success of the team and turning our fortunes around. He is committed to doing everything he can to make a constructive difference.

“The Highlanders have real game-breakers and it’s going to be a huge challenge for us on Friday. I don’t think it gets much tougher than what we have coming on Friday. But we played some good rugby against the Bulls and the Lions and we want to carry that momentum into this game.”

Du Plessis comes into the side which pushes Franco Marais on to the replacements bench.

In other changes to the side Stephan Lewies replaces Mouritz Botha and Lourens Adriaanse replaces Jannie du Plessis. In the backs JP Pietersen replaces Waylon Murray who drops down to the bench.

The Sharks had a bye last week and were beaten 10-17 by the Bulls in their last outing.

Sharks

15. Odwa Ndungane , 14. S’bura Sithole , 13. JP Pietersen , 12. Andre Esterhuizen , 11. Lwazi Mvovo , 10. Fred Zeilinga , 9. Cobus Reinach , 8. Willem Alberts , 7. Renaldo Bothma , 6. Marcell Coetzee , 5. Marco Wentzel (Captain) , 4. Stephan Lewies , 3. Lourens Adriaanse , 2. Bismarck du Plessis , 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements :16. Franco Marais , 17. Dale Chadwick , 18. Matt Stevens , 19. Mouritz Botha , 20. Etienne Oosthuizen , 21. Conrad Hoffmann , 22. Lionel Cronje , 23. Waylon Murray

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