Botes cracks the nod

The Sharks have made only one change to their starting XV for their Super Rugby match against the Blues on Friday.

Despite a bruising and energy-sapping match against the Crusaders last week, Jean Deysel's absence through suspension is the only change to the run-on side.

Jacques Botes gets his first start of the season in a loose-trio that consists of the the ever-improving Tera Mtembu and Springbok Willem Alberts.

Ryan Kankowski and Keegan Daniel will have to be content with a place on the bench, although Jake White will be expected to use them wisely later on as he did in last week's victory.

The Sharks are currently on an eight-match winning streak against the Blues, having last lost to them way back in 2005.

Sharks – 15 SP Marais, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 S’bura Sithole, 12 Paul Jordaan, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Francois Steyn, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Tera Mtembu, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, (c) 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Ryan Kankowski, 20 Keegan Daniel, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Heimar Williams.

Blues – 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Pita Ahki, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Luke Braid (c), 6 Peter Saili, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Subs :16 James Parsons, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Steven Luatua, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Albert Nikoro.

Photo: Steve Haag/Getty Images