Sharks attack with unchanged side


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Sharks coach Dick Muir has named an unchanged side to take on the Bulls in the Super 14 Final in Durban on Saturday.

Both JP Pietersen and Adrian Jacobs have come through injury concerns to start at wing and off the bench respectively.

Jacobs, who took a gash to the face in last weekend’ semifinal victory over the Blues, has been a vital replacement for the Sharks, coming off the bench so often to punch holes in a tiring opposition midfield.

Muir would looking to the boots of Steyn and Montgomery at the back to counter the tactical kicking of Derick Hougaard.

The one player who can consider himself unlucky not to make the 22 is Odwa Ndungane, who has had a superb season but misses out to the hype of Francois Steyn. Ndungane has added a creative edge to his play, and his presence may be sorely missed if the Sharks aim to counter the tight Bulls game with an expansive attack fronted by Butch James and Brad Barritt.

Muir has named five forwards on his bench. All of them will no doubt have a big role to play when they come on to counter the always compelling Bulls pack.

Last week the introduction of the likes of Bismarck du Plessis and Bob Skinstad had a telling effect on the quelling of a Blues second half resurgence, and it was a pivotal moment in ensuring the Sharks entry into the Final.

Muir has indeed fashioned a formidable squad of 22 who are set to pose a serious challenge to the Bulls, who have become favourites to take the Super 14 crown.

Sharks: 15 Percy Montgomery, 14 Francois Steyn, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Butch James, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 AJ Venter, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Johann Muller, 4 Johan Ackermann, 3 BJ Botha, 2 John Smit (c), 1 Deon Carstens
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Albert van den Berg, 19 Warren Britz, 20 Bob Skinstad, 21 Rory Kockott, 22 Adrian Jacobs

Date: 19 May 2007
Venue: ABSA Stadium, Durban
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Steve Walsh (New Zealand)
Touch judges: Lyndon Bray (New Zealand), Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
Television match official: Kelvin Deaker (New Zealand)
Assessor: Tappe Henning (South Africa)


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