Monty gets a break

In a huge gamble by Sharks coach Dick Muir, fullback Percy Montgomery and back-up hooker Skipper Badenhorst have been flown back to South Africa.

They duo are replaced by JP Pietersen and Heinke van der Merwe.

Van der Merwe will provide cover at prop, with John Smit and Bismarck du Plessis competing for the No 2 jersey.

Pietersen was injured in the first match against the Chiefs, and is desperate to get back on the field. However, Montgomery has been a key player for the Sharks in recent weeks and the decision to rest him now is questionable.

According to the Sharks website, Montgomery “is well-overdue a rest after playing an inordinate amount of rugby in the past few seasons. With Tony Brown in excellent kicking form (he was successful with seven out of eight kicks at goal) and Ruan Pienaar providing back-up, the Sharks are well-covered in that department, and what the Sharks lose in experience, they make up in exciting youth.”

The Sharks play the Highlanders on Saturday in their fourth match of their five-match tour. The Kiwis have just returned from a successful tour of SA, where they beat the Cheetahs and Stormers, before losing narrowly to the Bulls.