Durban – Sharks coach John Plumtree says there’s still chance for players to play open a spot in the starting line-up for their first Super Rugby clash against the Bulls in Pretoria next week.
The Sharks play the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth in their final pre-season match on Friday.
Plumtree expressed the opinion in earlier conversations that the team that lines up against the Kings would strongly resemble the team that plays the Bulls, but the coach said that some players could still force their way in.
â€œIt isnâ€™t necessarily the same starting side as for the Bulls because we still arenâ€™t set on some combinations. Competition for places is close and so players can still play their way in, but we do have a pretty good idea of what our team will be next weekend,” Plumtree told Sharks website editor, Michael Marnewick.
“Itâ€™s about getting the right mix with the starting players and those on the bench who can provide that impact.â€?
Looking ahead to Fridayâ€™s game, Plumtree hopes to have some good opposition from the Kings to prepare as best they can.
Their opponents lost 88-0 to the Lions on Tuesday night but there were no EP players involved and a stronger showing is expected on Friday night.
â€œIâ€™m hoping it will be physical down there,â€? said Plumtree.
â€œWe want a big performance before going into our first Super Rugby game. Boland got pretty tired and hopefully EP will go for 80 minutes and give us a good test.â€?
Southern Kings: 15 Tiger Mangweni, 14 Marcello Sampson, 13 Dwayne Jenner, 12 Wayne Stevens, 11 Norman Nelson, 10 Shane Gates, 9 Falie Oelschig, 8 Vleis Engelbrecht, 7 Mpho Mbiyozo, 6 Boetie Britz, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Darron Nell (captain), 3 Clint Newland, 2 Hannes Franklin, 1 Jaco Engels:
Substitutes: 16 Bobby Dyer, 17 Zane Killian, 18 Andre Schlechter, 19 Wayne van Heerden, 20 Reynier Bernardo, 21 Thembelani Bholi, 22 Siya Mangaliso, 23 Danie Faasen, 24 Earl Rose, 25 Matthew Tayler-Smith, 26 Kieran Goss.
Sharks: 15. Riaan Viljoen 14. Odwa Ndungane 13. JP Pietersen 12. Tim Whitehead 11. Lwazi Mvovo 10. Patrick Lambie 9. Charl McLeod 8. Ryan Kankowski 7. Lubabalo Mtembu 6. Marcell Coetzee 5. Anton Bresler 4. Steven Sykes 3. Jannie du Plessis 2. Bismarck du Plessis (captain) 1. Dale Chadwick
Subsitutes: 16. Craig Burden 17. Julian Redelinghuys 18. Wiehahn Herbst 19. Pieter-Steph du Toit 20. Ross Skeate 21. Keegan Daniel 22. Cobus Reinach 23. Meyer Bosman 24. Paul Jordaan.