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Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

Lwazi Mvovo © Gallo Images

Mvovo at fullback for Sharks

Springbok wing Lwazi Mvovo will line up at fullback for the Cell C Sharks when they face the Sunwolves in an important Vodacom Super Rugby clash in Singpore on Saturday.

Coach Robert du Preez was faced with a dilemma when Patrick Lambie was forced out due to the concussion he sustained leading the team against the Southern Kings last week. Garth April, who replaced Lambie at flyhalf following the Springbok’s departure from the field in Port Elizabeth, has played fullback and it was assumed he might be used there as regular fullback Rhyno Smith has also been ruled out of the Sunwolves match.

However, Mvovo did play a couple of games at fullback for Jake White when he former Bok mentor was coaching the Sharks in 2014, and Du Preez has decided to take that route, probably because above anything else he would like to see April wear the No 10. The Sharks are effectively down to their third choice flyhalf as Curwin Bosch has been ruled out by his Junior Springbok commitments.

Bernhard Janse van Rensburg was the other flyhalf option but Du Preez has opted to play him off the bench rather than disrupt the continuity that started last week when April played the last hour against the Sunwolves at pivot.

Mvovo’s switch to fullback gives the Sharks back three an exciting attacking look as the move has made way for S’ubisiso to play at left wing. The big youngster impressed on debut against the Western Force a fortnight ago and looks a real prospect in the position. In a country where there is a dearth of wings with size as an attribute, and some unions are suffering because of it, Nkosi’s progress will be watched closely.

It would certainly boost Du Preez’s options going forward if Mvovo performs well at fullback and sets himself up as a more permanent wearer of the No 15 jersey.

There have been several changes to the team that started against the Kings, with Johan Deysel making his first start at No 12 at Super Rugby level for the Sharks due to the injury of Jeremy Ward. The former South Africa under-20 captain will be out of rugby for six weeks so Deysel has a chance to play himself into the mix for a couple of matches.

Cobus Reinach starts again at scrumhalf as Michael Claassens was ruled out with injury. Claassens’ place in the touring squad was taken by Rowan Gouws.

In the forwards there has been wholescale change to the front-row, perhaps understandably so given how the Kings hurt the Sharks periodically in the scrums at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Stephan Lewies has been selected into the starting second row for Etienne Oosthuizen, with Ruan Botha taking off his No 5 jersey in order to wear the No 4 so that Lewies can be accommodated in his middle of the lineout position.

Du Preez says this is an important game for more reasons than just that the Sharks need to keep winning to stay well ahead of the Jaguares, who have a bye this weekend.

“This was supposed to be our momentum phase but we are back to square one again (after the loss to the Kings) so we need to get a win to get us back on track,” said Du Preez.

“We need a proper win. It needs to be an all-out great performance and that will set us up nicely for the three derbies we have at home (after we get back).”

After the Sunwolves game the Sharks round off the pre-June break phase by hosting the Stormers at Kings Park before coming back after the break to play against the Bulls and Lions, also in Durban.

Cell C Sharks team: 15.Lwazi Mvovo, 14.Kobus van Wyk, 13.Lukhanyo Am, Johan Deysel, 11.S’ubisiso Nkosi, 10.Garth April, 9.Cobus Reinach,8. Daniel du Preez, 7.Jean-Luc du Preez, 6.Philip van der Walt (captain),5. Stephan Lewies, 4.Ruan Botha, 3.Lourens Adriaanse, 2.Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1.Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16.Franco Marais, 17.Tendai Mtawarira, 18.John-Hubert Meyer, 19.Etienne Oosthuizen, 20.Tera Mtembu, 21.Rowan Gouws, 22.Bernhard Janse van Rensburg, 23.S’busiso Sithole.


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