The Sharks aim to get their Absa Currie Cup season back on track by bashing the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Loftus on Friday night.
Dick Muir’s young side lost 23-22 to Griquas at the weekend but not too much should be read into that result. The Durban-based team travel to Pretoria with a virtual full strength side, back after two-weeks of intensive strength and conditioning training as part of Muir’s dual squad system.
Flank Keegan Daniel returns from a hamstring strain along with highly rated prop BJ Botha, who has completed rehabilitation following neck surgery in May. Both have been named on the bench.
The pack boasts a solid loose trio of captain AJ Venter, Jacques Botes and Warren Britz, ensuring that a fascinating breakdown battle looms against the Bulls trio of Pedrie Wannenburg, Tim Dlulane and Warren Brosnihan. Steven Sykes and Wouter Moore start as the second-row pairing with Kees Lensing, Bismarck du Plessis and Danie Saayman completing the pack.
Brad Barritt replaces Butch James at flyhalf, with Ruan Pienaar starting at scrumhalf. Gobani Bobo and Grant Rees are the centres with Odwa Ndungane and Craig Burden (recovered from flu) looking to light things up on the wings.
A win for the Sharks would give them great momentum going into their game against the defending champions, the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs at the Absa Stadium on 25 July.
Sharks team to play Bulls:
15 Odwa Ndungane 14 Dusty Noble 13 Gcobani Bobo 12 Grant Rees 11 Craig Burden 10 Bradley Barritt 9 Ruan Pienaar 8 AJ Venter (c) 7 Jacques Botes 6 Warren Britz 5 Steven Sykes 4 Wouter Moore 3 Danie Saayman 2 Bismarck du Plessis 1 Kees Lensing.
Substitutes: Skipper Badenhorst, BJ Botha, Ryan Kankowski, Keegan Daniel, Scott Mathie, Mzwandile Stick, Andrew Binikos
By Ryan Vrede