The recurrence of a hamstring injury has forced exciting youngster Paul Jordaan out of the Sharks team to play the Stormers in Saturday’s Super Rugby semi-final at Newlands in the only change to the starting line-up that emphatically accounted for the Reds in last week’s play-off.
The SA under-20 centre pulled up with the injury not long after scoring a stunning try in Brisbane, and has not recovered. That has precipitated coach John Plumtree into promoting Meyer Bosman from the bench to the No 12 jersey, and shifting Tim Whitehead from inside centre to 13.
Whitehead is equally comfortable in the two positions, while Bosman is an out-and-out 12 and will give flyhalf Frederic Michalak support as a kicking option. Bosman has a huge boot on him and the territorial game will be an important one at Newlands.
The pack remains unchanged, which means Willem Alberts continues at lock and up-and-comer Anton Bresler continues in the second row alongside Springbok loose forward Alberts, and is thus preferred to veteran Steven Sykes.
In an unenforced change to the bench, Plumtree has dropped scrumhalf cover Cobus Reinach in favour of an extra forward in the form of burly Jean Deysel, thus giving the Sharks a 5-2 split on the bench in favour of the forwards. It is clearly an indication of where the Sharks see the battle being waged against the Stormers.
Bosman is replaced on the bench by the just-about-forgotten Riaan Viljoen, who can cover fullback and flyhalf. There were high hopes for the former Free Stater when he came to the Sharks, but he fell by the wayside early in Super Rugby after some indifferent performances and Louis Ludik has been preferred to him as the back-up to injured Patrick Lambie.
Meanwhile, Sharks assistant coach Hugh Reece-Edwards says the performance last week in beating the defending champions 30-17 showed a hunger that will |continue into this weekend’s fixture.
“We showed a lot of want in beating the Reds, and now we want to do this (beat the Stormers),” the former Springbok fullback said. “It’s a pride that we have, a special belief that this side has among themselves, and we’re going down there for one thing and one thing only – to come back with a positive result.”
Reece-Edwards said the team had not forgotten losing to the Stormers in the second round at Newlands when their discipline let them down.
“We can’t let that happen again – Peter Grant is hitting 90-odd percent with his kicks,” he said. “But, at the same time, we know we can beat them because we have in the past. We have to do our homework well, set the plan accordingly and then go down and |execute it.
“They’ve had a week off and, as we all know, having a week off isn’t necessarily the best thing,” he said.
“They have players coming back from injury as well, but we’re a side that wants to do well in this competition, where the players are prepared to stand up and fight for each other. We want to take this further!”
Article source: http://www.iol.co.za/sharks-open-the-door-for-bosman-1.1350158