Plum calls on Boks for final


The Sharks’ match day 22 to take on Western Province in the Absa Currie Cup Final on Saturday at Mr Price KINGS PARK features a mix of those who have done duty all season as well as returning Springboks.

In all, coach John Plumtree has selected eight current and recent Springboks in the starting line-up (add Craig Burden to that list as an unused member of the Springbok squad) with a further four named on the bench in a show of force from the Durban side.

It was a point of interest just how the returning Springboks would be reintegrated back into the competition at the conclusion of the Castle Rugby Championship, with the likes of Western Province and the Blue Bulls throwing all of theirs straight back into duty as they faced more pressure in the final rounds, while The Sharks had the luxury of being picky whilst rewarding the players who had taken The Sharks this far.

“The squad is all together now, we have been for a couple weeks, so there were fewer selection headaches for me,” Plumtree explains. “We do feel for the players that are left out, that makes it hard on those who went through the whole campaign. And might not be involved.”

He adds that there have been lessons learned from the past, although their situation did ease the pressure to play the Springboks where they might have been better coming back into the side slowly.

“Definitely, it was something we focussed on and made easier by the position we were in,” he points out. “With the format as it is, with six teams and relegation involved, the pressure was on those sides in that relegation zone to play their bigger names.”

For this match, Plumtree has retained the same backline from last week’s semi-final with rotational changes amongst the forwards. Willem Alberts starts with Jean Deysel replacing him on the bench while Steven Sykes returns for a start after his recovery from injury (which had him playing off the bench last week).

In the front row, Craig Burden switches with Kyle Cooper with Dale Chadwick the unfortunate one to miss out. Odwa Ndungane will add further experience off the bench after returning from injury.

With home ground advantage, The Sharks have been instilled as favourites, with Western Province themselves happy to take the underdog tag. “It’s a way of deflecting pressure away from themselves for them to call us the favourites,” Plumtree says. “They’ll have their own expectations and they will be coming here to win, I am not buying into that.

“They are good enough to be here at this point, we respect that and we will go full out at them and they will be doing the same with us.”

The Sharks

15. Louis Ludik
14. JP Pietersen
13. Paul Jordaan
12. Tim Whitehead
11. Lwazi Mvovo
10. Pat Lambie
9. Cobus Reinach
8. Keegan Daniel (Capt)
7. Willem Alberts
6. Marcell Coetzee
5. Anton Bresler
4. Steven Sykes
3. Jannie du Plessis
2. Craig Burden
1. Tendai Mtawarira

16. Kyle Cooper
17. Wiehahn Herbst
18. Jandre Marais
19. Jean Deysel
20. Charl McLeod
21. Meyer Bosman

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