Keegan Daniel and Jacques Botes will hope to torment the Blues at the breakdown.
AJ Venter has failed to recover from a leg infection and is replaced by Botes, who had a big impact off the bench against the Bulls last week. Daniel, Man of the Match at Loftus, retains his place.
The duo’s mandate will be to ensure the Blues backline aren’t fed the quick ball they’ve become accustomed to over the first three rounds of the tournament. Sharks assistant coach Grant Bashford warned that that sort of service to flyhalf Nick Evans could spell trouble for his side, and Daniel and Botes will be acutely aware of this.
Venter’s loss does rob them of some grunt in the pack, but Daniel and Botes add speed and handling skills that the veteran cannot match.
Great news for the Sharks is that hooker Bismarck du Plessis has recovered from a rib injury that kept him sidelined for a week. Given the lineout troubles the Sharks had, Du Plessis’ return will be a very welcome one. Albert van den Berg replaces retired lock Johan Ackermann while Stefan Terblanche is preferred to Odwa Ndungane on the wing.
Charl McLoed and Steven Sykes come onto the bench.
Sharks - 15 Francois Steyn, 14 Stefan Terblanche, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Bradley Barritt, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jacques Botes, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Johann Muller (captain), 4 Albert van den Berg, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Jannie du Plessis.
Subs: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Steven Sykes, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Charl Mcleod, 21 Adrian Jacobs, 22 Odwa Ndungane.