Sharks head coach Jake White has named eleven Springboks in his starting line-up for their Super Rugby opener against the Bulls.
Sharks head coach Jake White has named eleven Springboks in his starting side for their Super Rugby clash with the Bulls on Saturday.
Bismarck du Plessis leads the team with Tendai Mtawarira and brother Jannie either side of him in the front-row and Pieter-Steph du Toit and Anton Bresler at second-row for their season opener.
Ryan Kankowski is at eight alongside Willem Alberts and Marcell Coetzee while in the backline, Conbus Reinach gets the nod at scrum-half over Charl McLeod and starts with fly-half Pat Lambie.
The centre combination is Frans Steyn and Paul Jordaan, with Odwa Ndungane and Lwazi Mvovo the wings and SP Marais named as White's 15.
“You know what the Bulls are going to do in terms of their style of play,” said head coach White.
“They have been doing it for years. They are going to kick from the base of the scrum, they are going to kick from base of lineout. They will maul the lineouts. They are going to try and physically dominate you in first 25 minutes to see if they can get some ascendancy. I can't believe they will move away from what has worked for them in the past.
“Let's take nothing away from the Bulls, they've won the competition three times and that's more than any other South African side.
“The challenge is that a team needs to dominate, you need to be able to beat those teams. The challenge that we sit with is if we're not good enough to beat the Bulls at home in this round, the chances are we will struggle against the likes of the Blues and Crusaders in Auckland and Christchurch. That's what it takes to win this competition, you have to beat teams like that and the Bulls at home.”
Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (c), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Heimar Williams, 23 S'bura Sithole.
Date: Saturday, February 15
Kick off: 19:10 (local), 17:10 (GMT)
Venue: Kings Park Stadium, Durban
Referee: Jason Jaftha (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry (South Africa), Marius Jonker (South Africa)
Television match official: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)