Plum benches Steyn

Tim Whitehead will play at No 12 for the Sharks once fit and Frans Steyn will return to fullback.

But for now Steyn has been relegated to the bench for this weekend’s clash with the Rebels.

Sharks coach John Plumtree has confirmed Whitehead’s distribution skills have been missed and that Steyn has struggled since returning from injury, with his conditioning and with his overall game.

Plumtree said the plan was to move Steyn to fullback once Whitehead was available.

Meyer Bosman will start at inside centre.

Other changes to the side humiliated a week ago include a start for the impressive lock Piet-Steph du Toit and hooker Kyle Cooper. Ryan Kankowski is also benched and Jacques Botes starts at flank and Keegan Daniel is at No 8.

Cobus Reinarch also is back at scrumhalf.

Plumtree said that Steyn’s weight had dropped from 118 kilograms to 110 and that he was still five kilograms off his ideal playing weight of 105 kilograms. Steyn had an ankle injury last year and could not train for several months.

‘It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work out that he’s (Steyn) not quite at his best,’ said Plumtree. ‘He’s a quality player and that won’t just dry up and go away. I think he has a bit of work to do and he’ll admit that himself. It was only two months ago the guy was at 118 kilograms. He’d comeback from a bad ankle injury and he hadn’t played for months.

‘Now we’ve got him down to 110kgs and his best fighting weight will be 105 or 106kgs. We are clearly missing a guy like Tim Whitehead in midfield. He’ll be back soon and so will Frans.’