SA latest – Smit back at tighthead brings you news from South Africa’s Super Rugby franchises.

Smit back at tighthead -John Smit will start his first Super Rugby game this season at tighthead prop when the Sharks take on the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday.

Smit replaces Jannie du Plessis in the front row and takes over the captaincy from outside centre Stefan Terblanche.

The other change to the pack sees No 8 Ryan Kankowski promoted from the bench, which sees Keegan Daniel move to openside flank and Jacques Botes drops to the reserves.

Wing Odwa Ndungane has recovered from his light concussion to make the run-on side this weekend, while speedster Lwazi Mvovo replaces the injured JP Pietersen.

Sharks – 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Stefan Terblanche, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 John Smit (c), 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Bench: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Jannie du Plessis, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Conrad Hoffmann, 21 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 22 Adrian Jacobs.

Sharks consider London fixture – The Crusaders are planning to stage their home match against the Sharks in London, but they will need the Durban franchise to agree to the change in venue.

Following the earthquake in Christchurch, the Crusaders have moved to Nelson as a temporary base. Since the disaster, there has been a move to stage a game in London in order to help their financial situation.

According to The Witness, Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl has been approached by his Crusaders counterpart and the Durban franchise is weighing up the pros and cons. The fixture is the Sharks’ fourth and final
tour game before they return to South Africa, so to travel all the way to London would place them at a disadvantage.

Both the Crusaders and Sharks stand to make money from the proposed fixture at Twickenham, but Van Zyl said a ‘rugby decision’ rather than a financial one would be made. The decision will be announced following the Sharks’ game against the Rebels on Friday.

Brussow back in action – Heinrich Brussow will make his return to Super Rugby against the Lions this weekend.

Sias Ebersohn will start at flyhalf while Andries Strauss has been named captain for the Cheetahs’ clash with the Lions. Naas Olivier has been dropped to the bench after some poor performances in the first three rounds.

Coach Naka Drotske has made several other changes, with Riaan Viljoen slotting in at fullback, flanks Philip van der Walt and Brussow introduced to the back row and Martin Muller coming in at lock.

Cheetahs – 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Philip Snyman, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss (c), 11 Rayno Benjamin, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Philip van der Walt, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Martin Muller, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ryno Barnes, 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Subs: 16 Skipper Badenhorst, 17 Kobus Calldo, 18 Kabamba Floors, 19 Francois Uys, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Naas Olivier, 22 Fabien Juries.