Frans Steyn will captain the Sharks from inside centre in their Super Rugby opener against the Cheetahs on Saturday.
Cobus Reinach starts at scrumhalf ahead of Charl McLeod who provides ample ability off the bench, with Ryan Kankowski, back from a six month stint in Japan, starting at number eight alongside fellow loose forwards Jacques Botes and Marcell Coetzee.
Franco van der Merwe partners Anton Bresler in the second row while there are no real surprises in the backline with Pat Lambie at flyhalf, Frans Steyn partnering Paul Jordaan in the midfield, Springboks JP Pietersen and Lwazi Mvovo out wide and Louis Ludik completing the line-up at fullback.
"It was a case of the experience factor with the tight five I've chosen," said Sharks coach John Plumtree.
"The way the Cheetahs play influenced a lot of the selections, they have a lot of speed and genuine threats in their backline and we have to be able to match that defensively.
"We've picked a side that has the most experience for the occasion. Scrumhalf was a horses for courses selection in terms of the strengths I require for the day."
The Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Francois Steyn (capt), 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Odwa Ndungane
Date: Saturday, February 23
Kick-off: 17:05 local (15:05 GMT)
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha (South Africa), Tiaan Jonker (South Africa)
Television match official: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)