Mtawarira returns for Sharks

Date published: April 6 2017

Sharks boss Robert du Preez has made three changes to his starting XV named to take on the Jaguares in Durban on Saturday.

Springbok loosehead prop Beast Mtawarira, who was unavailable for selection last week due to the death of his grandmother, makes a welcome return to the run-on side along with fellow Bok Stephan Lewies, who replaces Ruan Botha in the number five jersey.

Botha joins Thomas du Toit and Philip van der Walt, who is returning from injury, on the bench for this match. Chiliboy Ralepelle, who was a late withdrawal from last week’s team with a quad strain, has also been named on the bench.

Du Preez has always maintained that this competition will require a squad effort and the impetus provided by his bench is going to be very important on Saturday, especially considering the physicality of the match.

Experienced Sharks scrum-half Michael Claassens expects a tough battle on Saturday.

“The Jaguares are a tough side to play against," he said.

"They are a competitive team who are made up of international players and they bring massive physicality to their game.

“Discipline is going to be important.  We are still positive after last week’s match and we will be up for this game.”

Commenting on his team’s 2017 campaign Claassens said: “We’ve come a long way as a team and we are definitely on the right track. Building a team requires time together and consistency.  

"We have great respect for our coach and we have all bought into the plan and we all know what we are working towards.”

Sharks: 15 Garth April, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Tera Mtembu (c), 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Beast Mtawarira 
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Ruan Botha, 20 Philip van der Walt, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Inny Radebe, 23 Jeremy Ward

Date: Saturday, April 8
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 15:05 local (13:05 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)