Russell eyes return

Sharks coach Dick Muir will make two enforced changes to his starting XV for Saturday’s Vodacom Super 14 match against the Blues in Durban.

Winger Henno Mentz has a serious calf injury that he picked up against the Cats while replacement JP Pietersen sprained his ankle late in the game.

This could prompt a return to Super 14 rugby for Brent Russell, who has played for the Wildebeest in the Vodacom Cup in recent weeks. Cedric Mkhize and Dusty Noble are the other possible contenders.

The Sharks must win all four of their remaining matches if they hope to reach the semi-finals, starting with the Blues.

The Aucklanders have blown hot and cold all season, but convincing victories against the Stormers and Force have restored their confidence ahead of their South African tour.

Muir is expecting a tough encounter against the three-time champions.

“There has always been something special about matches between these teams,” he said. “There have been some ding-ding battles and I know the Sharks players have always loved the challenge of playing against the Aucklanders. I reckon this is going to be an excellent match because both teams are on an upward trend.”