Gold happy with Japan pair

Date published: March 6 2015

Gary Gold insists he's not taking a risk by putting JP Pietersen and François Steyn straight back into the Sharks team this weekend.

The Springbok pair only returned from Japan this week, but have gone straight into the starting lineup, where they will combine in the centres against the Stormers.

While the standard of rugby should be a big step up, Sharks boss Gold is confident that his two veterans will be able to make the smooth transition back to Super Rugby.

"They’re hugely experienced Springboks and they are coming back to a group of players they’ve been with for a long time, it’s not like this is a new team for them," he said.

"And it’s not as if they haven’t been playing rugby. They came straight back in because they’ve been playing rugby week in and week out in Japan. I don’t think it’s a gamble bringing them right back in, their experience is going to help us through the spine of the team and will hopefully help Bissie (Bismarck du Plessis) and Patrick (Lambie) with the leadership throughout the whole team.

"Half of Frans has come back from Japan, I’m not sure we’re going to use him as a battering ram. But his play-making ability is exceptional, we want to try and have an opportunity where we can play a brand of rugby where we have two first receivers, Frans has played 10 as well and that makes a big difference.

"And JP’s versatility will help us as well. Hopefully it’s having the all-round package with the older heads in what I think is going to be a very pressured situation down at Newlands."