Sharks coach Sean Everitt was forced to make changes due to Sikhumbuzo Notshe’s injury, and he has made a rotational change to his second row where youngster JJ van der Mescht swaps with hard-working Ruben van Heerden.
DURBAN – Sharks coach Sean Everitt has been forced to rework his loose trio for Saturday’s Rainbow Cup match against the Stormers at Jonsson Kings Park because of an injury to Sikhumbuzo Notshe, and he has made a rotational change to his second row where youngster JJ van der Mescht swaps with hard-working Ruben van Heerden.
Notshe has undergone surgery on a knee cap he injured against the Bulls last week and he is replaced at No.8 by Henco Venter, who was last week’s blindside flank, with former Kings No.7 Thembelani Bholi promoted to that position.
Springbok captain Siya Kolisi continues at openside flank, and young Phepsi Buthelezi remains the loose forward cover on the bench.
In one change to the backline, Marius Louw returns to the side from injury and takes over from Jeremy Ward at inside centre.
The Sharks are desperate to bounce back from their heavy defeat to the Bulls while the Stormers want revenge for losing to the Sharks in Cape Town in the first round.
“The guys are proud, they have a lot of fight in them,” Everitt says. “There is still a lot of rugby to be played — we have three games and it starts with our comeback this Saturday. We’re still in a really good position — the Bulls are only three points ahead of us — and we still have them at home and we haven’t lost at Jonsson Kings Park for a long period of time. We want to hit back and we do want to win this competition.”
Sharks (15-1): Aphelele Fassi, Sibusiso Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am (captain), Marius Louw, Yaw Penxe, Curwin Bosch, Jaden Hendrikse, Henco Venter, Thembelani Bholi, Siya Kolisi, Reniel Hugo, JJ van der Mescht, Thomas du Toit, Fez Mbatha, Ox Nche. Bench (16-23): Kerron van Vuuren, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Wiehahn Herbst, Ruben van Heerden, Phepsi Buthelezi, Sanele Nohamba, Manie Libbok, Werner Kok.
Stormers (15-1): Damian Willemse, Sergeal Petersen, Ruhan Nel, Rikus Pretorius, Edwill van der Merwe, Abner van Reenen, Herschel Jantjies, Evan Roos, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Willie Engelbrecht, Marvin Orie, JD Schickerling, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff (captain). Bench (from 16-25): Scarra Ntubeni, Ali Vermaak, Neethling Fouche, Ernst van Rhyn, Adre Smith, Juarno Augustus, Paul de Wet, Tim Swiel, Marcel Theunissen, Dan du Plessis.