Plumtree gambles on Jordaan switch
Sharks coach John Plumtree has gambled on a switch of position for promising outside centre Paul Jordaan for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby final against the Chiefs in Hamilton.
The hand injury that forced regular inside centre Tim Whitehead to stay behind in South Africa rather than travel with the Sharks to New Zealand necessitated at least one change to the side that beat the Stormers 26-19 in the semifinal in Cape Town last weekend.
Meyer Bosman is the only other regular inside centre in the Sharks squad, but memories of what happened when Meyer played against Sonny Bill Williams, the Chiefs No 12, when he was playing for the Crusaders last year, plus when Jean de Villiers was the opponent in a match against the Stormers last April, probably played a role in Plumtree’s decision.
Jordaan has played well at No 13 for the Sharks this season and has not played inside centre, but Springbok wing JP Pietersen was so good at outside centre last week that it made it made it easier for Plumtree to stick with what works. Jordaan is clearly over the hamstring injury that prevented him from playing against the Stormers after he played well at No 13 against the Reds.
The other option for Plumtree was to select Patrick Lambie at inside centre. The Michaelhouse old boy did play well in the midfield in his first Currie Cup season of 2009. But Plumtree has opted instead to select Lambie at fullback, at least in the team he has announced, with Riaan Viljoen dropping out and Lwazi Mvovo and Louis Ludik continuing on the wings.
There are no other changes to the Sharks team, which is hardly surprising if you consider how well the combination has played over the past few weeks. Of course with the Sharks there is always the chance that the team that runs onto the field will be different to the one that was announced, as was the case last week when Pietersen wore the No 13 jersey without it being advertised beforehand.
Sharks team: Patrick Lambie, Louis Ludik, JP Pietersen, Paul Jordaan, Lwazi Mvovo, Frederic Michalak, Charl McLeod, Ryan Kankowski, Marcell Coetzee, Keegan Daniel (capt), Anton Bresler, Willem Alberts, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: Craig Burden, Wiehahn Herbst, Steven Sykes, Jacques Botes, Jean Deysel, Meyer Bosman, Riaan Viljoen.