Davidson’s boot ousts Pienaar

Dick Muir has included youngster Heinke van der Merwe and veteran Craig Davidson in his starting XV to take on the Hurricanes in the Vodacom Super 14 this weekend. Deon Carstens and Ruan Pienaar miss out.

Davidson, who has impressed from the bench in his limited opportunities thus far, has been handed jersey 9 for the first time this season. His proficiency with the boot would have been the major compelling factor behind his selection over the in-form Pienaar, and suggests that Muir will favour an aerial bombardment to neutralise the dangerous Hurricanes backs.

Van der Merwe performed admirably in week one against the Chiefs, but the SA U21 prop will be tested against All Black back-up Neemia Tialata. John Smit’s steadying influence alongside will be crucial.

Muir has shown faith in the remainder of the side that ousted the Highlanders. Odwa Ndungane’s good form has solved a troublesome position, and JP Pietersen will again seek to underline why he is the hottest young prospect in South African rugby.

The back row combination of Warren Britz, Jacques Botes and AJ Venter performed well last week, with Venter again standing tallest. His Bok shares rise every weekend.

SHARKS SIDE TO PLAY THE HURRICANES

JP Pietersen; Odwa Ndungane, Adrian Jacobs, Andries Strauss, Henno Mentz; Tony Brown, Craig Davidson; AJ Venter, Jacques Botes, Warren Britz, Johann Muller, Johan Ackermann, BJ Botha, John Smit (c), Heinke van der Merwe. Subs: Bismarck du Plessis, Deon Carstens, Albert van den Berg, Daniel Farani, Ruan Pienaar, Waylon Murray, Brad Barritt/Gcobani Bobo