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Sharks pick eight Boks for Saracens

23rd January 2014 11:05

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sharks mtawarira du plessis

Springbok front row: Sharks

The Sharks have named eight Springboks in their starting XV to face Saracens in London this Saturday at Allianz Park.

Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck and Jannie Du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jean Deysel, Willem Alberts, Lwazi Mvovo and Odwa Ndungane will all start for the South African franchise this weekend.

"What I enjoy about this game is that it mimics a little bit of what we can expect from the Bulls," explains Director of Rugby Jake White.

"Saracens play a little bit like the Bulls, they have a big pack of forwards, their set-piece is strong and they kick a lot.

"It gives me and the coaching staff an opportunity to see the things we want to do against the Bulls, to have an idea of whether or not we can play against the Bulls in a certain way.

"Obviously we can't give too much away as it's televised and there will be a lot of analysis of the game. I think it gives us an opportunity from a playing style point of view what we're up against when we play the Bulls in February."

Aside from the playing and preparation point of view and testing certain combinations and possibly certain players in different positions, White explains that it is vital that they return home with a full, fit squad.

"The most important thing about this game is that we get through it injury-free," added White.

"Obviously people would appreciate that they are in the middle of their season, while this is the first hit-out for us, we haven't had any contact situations of a fully-fledged fixture."

White has selected a team with a Springbok front row, a youthful lock pairing, a powerful yet mobile loose-forward trio, another young half-back pairing, young centres, established wings and is testing Tyler Fisher at fullback.

Marcell Coetzee, Keegan Daniel and Frans Steyn did not tour after picking up injuries in training. The team have arrived safely in London although a few players have been hit with a stomach bug and are unwell.

Sharks: 15 Tyler Fisher, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Tera Mtembu, 5 Pieter-Steph Du Toit, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (c), 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriannse, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jacques Botes, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Heimar Williams, 23 Jaco van Tonder

Date: Saturday, January 25
Venue: Allianz Park
Kickoff: 14:30 (GMT, 16:30 SA)
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (England)
Assistant Referees: Matthew Carley (England), Gareth Copsey (England)
TMO: Sean Davey (England)

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