Super Rugby

Sharks make four changes for Crusaders

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The Sharks have named a Super Rugby side with four changes to play the Crusaders at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.

Cobus Reinach returns to the starting team in the only change to the Sharks backline.

In the forwards Philip van der Walt gets his second second consecutive start and shifting to the eighthman position to give Daniel du Preez a much-needed break and he moves to the bench.

Jean-Luc du Preez who missed last week’s macth with the Bulls due to a minor foot injury he sustained against the Stormers has recovered and starts this week.

The final changes come in the front row, Coenie Oosthuizen and Franco Marais back in the starting XV after rotational changes had the duo playing off the bench last week.

“We have a huge amount of respect for the Crusaders team, who have consistently set the benchmark in the history of this competition,” said Director of Rugby, Gary Gold.

“It is not only their style of play that is impressive, but also the quality of players they produce. The core of their team is made-up of world class All Blacks and the fact that they have played together for such a long time, and know each other so well makes them a formidable outfit.

“This is obviously the first of the five New Zealand teams we will be playing in 2016 and will be our toughest challenge to date. It will give us a clear benchmark of the progress we’ve made. We understand the magnitude of this game and if you want to succeed in this competition you need to beat the best.”

“Our focus is on ourselves and our processes and we have worked really hard in the lead-up to this match. It is important to us to restore pride in our performance and gain back the faith of our supporters. I really want to commend the character and fortitude shown by our players in the 2nd half against the Bulls, which is indicative of the great team spirit and determination that surrounds our team currently.

“It will be an absolute privilege for this new generation team to play against a top New Zealand team like the Crusaders, who have some of the best players in the world, and we are ready to raise the level of our performance on Saturday. There’s going to be great crowd at Kings Park, and we certainly intend to give them reason to cheer and to sustain our strong start to the season.”

Sharks

15. Willie le Roux , 14. JP Pietersen , 13. Paul Jordaan , 12. Andre Esterhuizen , 11. Lwazi Mvovo , 10. Joe Pietersen , 9. Cobus Reinach , 8. Philip van der Walt , 7. Jean-Luc du Preez , 6. Marcell Coetzee , 5. Stephan Lewies , 4. Etienne Oosthuizen , 3. Coenie Oosthuizen , 2. Franco Marais , 1. Tendai Mtawarira (C)

Replacements , 16. Kyle Cooper , 17. Juan Schoeman , 18. Lourens Adriaanse , 19. Hyron Andrews , 20. Daniel du Preez , 21. Michael Claassens , 22. Garth April , 23. Odwa Ndungane

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