Monty tasked with saving Sharks

Percy Montgomery will wear 10 for the Sharks in a warm-up fixture against the Leopards XV on Friday night.

Coach Dick Muir has named two lineups to play two friendlies against Leopards teams, with the halfback combination of Ruan Pienaar and Monty the most interesting.

The absence of Butch James through injury and Tony Brown’s extended stint in Japan mean Muir is facing up to the extended Super 14 with Montgomery as his first choice flyhalf.

His input and influence as a rare player of quality amongst the plodders cannot be overemphasised. For the Sharks to have the slightest chance of avoiding relegation, Monty has to cook. And Friday night will give a barometer of just how quickly he’s warming up.

AJ Venter has a similar role in the pack, with Muir naming him the second row. Gcobani Bobo underperformed horribly by his standards last season, and a return to outside centre may be the inspiration for him to rediscover the form that made him one of the premier centres in the country.

SHARKS TEAMS TO PLAY LEOPARDS XVs

Great White: JP Pietersen; Odwa Ndungane, Craig Burden, Grant Rees, Brad Barrit; Steve Meyer, Sandile Nxumalo; Braam Immelman, Nico Breedt, Solly Tyibilika, Steven Sykes, Johan Ackerman, Pierre du Toit, Bismarck du Plessis, Danie Saayman.

Raggie: Greg Goosen; Dusty Noble, Gcobani Bobo, Andries Strauss, Brett Hennessey; Percy Montgomery, Ruan Pienaar, Jacques Botes, Daniel Farani, Warren Britz, Albert van den Berg, AJ Venter, Brent Moyle, Jody Jenneker, Deon Carstens