Sharks Super rugby head coach Robert du Preez has named a team with two changes for this Friday’s match against the Lions in Johannesburg.
Du Preez has made just two changes to last week’s side, one upfront and one in the back-line and a new South African Super rugby record is set to be made.
The loss of Akker van der Merwe to a three-week suspension has necessitated a change in the front row, with Kerron van Vuuren starting and Fez Mbatha coming onto the bench as cover at hooker.
Despite his relative youth (23 years of age), van Vuuren will have the country’s most experienced Super Rugby player packing down beside him (and a fellow Bok in Coenie Oosthuizen on the other side of the front row).
Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira will start this crucial match and make national history when he becomes the most capped South African rugby player in the competition. This will be his 157th appearance, overtaking the former record-holder Adriaan Strauss.
Curwin Bosch replacing Aphelele Fassi at fullback is the only other change to the starting XV.
On the bench, Juan Schoeman comes in for Khutha Mchunu while JJ van der Mescht (like Mbatha, another player from last year’s triumphant Sharks Under 19 campaign) is poised to make his Super Rugby debut, replacing Gideon Koegelenberg as cover at lock.
15. Curwin Bosch, 14. Lwazi Mvovo, 13. Lukhanyo Am, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Makazole Mapimpi, 10. Robert du Preez, 9. Louis Schreuder (c), 8. Daniel du Preez, 7. Jacques Vermeulen, 6. Luke Stringer, 5. Hyron Andrews, 4. Ruben van Heerden, 3. Coenie Oosthuizen, 2. Kerron van Vuuren, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16. Fez Mbatha, 17. Juan Schoeman, 18. Thomas du Toit, 19. JJ van der Mescht, 20. Philip van der Walt, 21. Grant Williams, 22. Kobus van Wyk, 23. Aphelele Fassi