Sharks shock as Mvovo plays fullback
Cell C Sharks director of rugby Jake White is never afraid of thinking out the box and producing the odd shock and he has done that for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Waratahs at Growthpoint Kings Park by dropping SP Marais to the bench.
The former Southern Kings fullback has performed solidly in the last line of defence this season, but White is clearly looking for something extra as Odwa Ndungane’s return from compassionate leave sees him return at right wing – and the regular left wing, Lwazi Mvovo, slotting in at fullback! JP Pietersen moves from right wing to left wing in a much changed and revamped back three.
As anticipated, the side contains a lot of changes to the one that lost to the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus last weekend, with Fred Zeilinga coming in as the starting flyhalf in place of the injured Patrick Lambie. There are also several changes at forward, with the most notable being the shifting of Willem Alberts to lock from blindside flank. Jean Deysel gets to start for the first time this season in the No 7 jersey.
In fact, with Charl McLeod coming into the side in place of the injured Cobus Reinach, the only combinations that remain the same as the ones that started in Pretoria last week are the front-row and the midfield. White has again resisted the temptation to move JP Pietersen to outside centre, a move which could have easily been made now that Ndungane is back in the mix.
Alberts’ shift to lock has enabled White to include Keegan Daniel, last year’s Sharks Currie Cup winning captain, in the squad for the first time this season. Daniel has been on the outer in the early stages of the year amidst rumours that he may be poised to sign to play rugby in Japan. He apparently isn’t the only current Sharks player who could be following scrumhalf Charl McLeod, who is going to France, away from Durban at the end of this Super Rugby season, with several other players rumoured to be on the move.
SHARKS TEAM: 15.Lwazi Mvovo, 14.Odwa Ndungane, 13.S’bura Sithole, 12.Frans Steyn, 11.JP Pietersen, 10.Fred Zeilinga, 9.Charl McLeod, 8.Ryan Kankowski, 7.Jean Deysel, 6.Marcell Coetzee, 5.Stephan Lewies, 4.Willem Alberts, 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.Keegan Daniel, 21.Stefan Ungerer, 22.Heimar Williams, 23.SP Marais.