Smit back to skipper Sharks

John Smit returns to the Sharks starting line-up and is immediately handed the captaincy by coach Dick Muir ahead of the Vodacom Super 14 clash with the Highlanders.

Smit is one of three changes, including a positional switch, to the side that narrowly lost to the Brumbies 35-30 in Canberra.

JP Pietersen is predictably handed jersey 15 after Percy Montgomery was allowed to return to Durban for a few weeks rest.

Pietersen has only 25 minutes of Vodacom Super 14 experience behind his name, and the House of Pain will provide an intimidating backdrop to what will hopefully be his first full 80 minute appearance.

Muir has also reshuffled his back row, with AJ Venter and Jacques Botes swapping jerseys.

Tony Brown’s emphatic performance against the Brumbies ensures his combination with Ruan Pienaar is the key to victory for the Sharks. Brown will certainly be familiar with Dunedin having played 83 Super Rugby matches for the Highlanders.

SHARKS SIDE TO PLAY THE HIGHLANDERS

15. JP Pietersen
14. Odwa Ndungane
13. Adrian Jacobs
12. Andries Strauss
11. Henno Mentz
10. Tony Brown
9. Ruan Pienaar
8. AJ Venter
7. Jacques Botes
6. Warren Britz
5. Johann Muller
4. Johan Ackermann
3. BJ Botha
2. John Smit (c)
1. Deon Carstens

Subs

16. Bismarck du Plessis
17. Danie Saayman
18. Albert van den Berg
19. Daniel Farani
20. Craig Davidson
21. Waylon Murray
22. Brad Barritt/Gcobani Bobo