Burden starts for the Sharks


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Sharks hooker Craig Burden will get his first start for an injury-hit Sharks side in the vital Super 14 clash against Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday.

Burden replaces World Cup Springbok Bismarck du Plessis, who is injured. Injuries have not helped the Sharks’ cause in the last few weeks.

Frederik Michalak was injured last week, Steven Sykers has been out of contention for some time and, with Du Plessis (sternum) and centre Brad Barrit (shoulder) also injured, they will be holding their collective breath that skipper Johann Muller will be fit.

Muller was injured during the warm-up for last weekend’s match against the Brumbies and is still not assured of playing. He is pencilled in alongside AJ Venter at lock.

If Muller comes through a late fitness test, Venter will play at flank, otherwise Venter will be at lock and Jean Deysel at flank. Barritt’s injury means that Francois Steyn will be at inside centre with Waylon Murray on the outside.

The back three remain unchanged, and Ruaan Pienaar, who replaced the injured Frederik Michalak at flyhalf last weekend, retains his spot as does Rory Kockott at scrumhalf.

BJ Botha comes back into the front row for Jannie du Plessis while Venter comes into the back row to bulk up the scrum which will be tested by the Crusaders who also pride themselves on their strong pack.

With the loss of Michalak for the season and Barritt for this match, Andries Strauss has been flown over from Durban and will play off the bench.

Lock Alistair Hargreaves has also gone across and will come into the reckoning should the need arise.

Sharks Team :

Stefan Terblanche, Odwa Ndungane, Waylon Murray , Francois Steyn, JP Pietersen, , Ruan Pienaar, Rory Kockott, Ryan Kankowski, AJ Venter / Jean Deysel, Jacques Botes, Johann Muller (capt) / AJ Venter, Albert van den Berg , BJ Botha, Craig Burden, Beast Mtawarira.

Reserves: Skipper Badenhorst, Jannie du Plessis, Jean Deysel /Alistair Hargreaves, Keegan Daniel, Andries Strauss, Henno Mentz , Adrian Jacobs.

Sapa –

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