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Sharks make five changes for Bulls clash

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Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold has named a Super Rugby team with five changes to the side for this weekend’s Super Rugby match against the Bulls in Pretoria.

One notable change is the return of former captain Keegan Daniel who has been named on the replacements bench.

Lwazi Mvovo returns from injury – he narrowly missed out last week – and moves into his favoured left wing position, meaning a switch over to the right for fellow Bok JP Pietersen. Michael Claassens replaces Cobus Reinach at scrumhalf.

Philip van der Walt replaces Jean­Luc du Preez in the No 7 jersey, with the latter ruled out for a week with a foot injury, Kyle Cooper starts at hooker in place of Franco Marais and Lourens Adriaanse comes in at tighthead prop, with Coenie Oosthuizen starting off the bench.

On the bench, loose forward Keegan Daniel also makes a welcome return to the Sharks after returning from Japan. It’s Daniel’s first Super Rugby match since 2014.

S’bura Sithole is the only man besides Du Preez to drop completely out of the match 23 for this game.

“Another very tough challenge awaits our new generation Sharks team this Friday, made trickier by the fact that it’s a short turnaround before the match,” said Gold.

“Our preparation needs to be very precise this week, in terms of what we do. We are comfortable with the plans we have put in place. ”

“The Bulls were fantastic against the Rebels and were particularly impressive in many areas. This is a big SA derby and we under no illusions about the physicality they are going to bring.

“We want to improve each week and keep on building as a team. We are really keen to keep the momentum going now and, as a result, our confidence will keep growing. It’s the reason we’ve rotated a few guys this week.

“We have a huge amount of confidence in the guys that have come off the bench and they have made a significant difference to our games at critical stages. There were a few sore bodies after the Stormers match, so it made sense to make a few changes. These changes are not disruptive, but it does mean that other guys that have put their hands up have an opportunity to start this week, rather than come off the bench.”

“Jean-Luc has a minor foot injury, which creates an opportunity for Keegan Daniel to be included on the bench, having recently returned to Durban.”

Sharks

15. Willie le Roux , 14. JP Pietersen , 13. Paul Jordaan , 12. Andre Esterhuizen , 11. Lwazi Mvovo , 10. Joe Pietersen , 9. Michael Claassens , 8. Daniel du Preez , 7. Philip van der Walt , 6. Marcell Coetzee , 5. Stephan Lewies , 4. Etienne Oosthuizen , 3. Lourens Adriaanse , 2. Kyle Cooper , 1. Tendai Mtawarira (C)

Replacements , 16. Franco Marais , 17. Juan Schoeman , 18. Coenie Oosthuizen , 19. Hyron Andrews , 20. Keegan Daniel , 21. Cobus Reinach , 22. Garth April , 23. Odwa Ndungane

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