Lambie starts Saders showdown

Pat Lambie will start at flyhalf in one of two personnel changes to the Sharks side for their semi-final against the Crusaders on Saturday.

Lambie, who featured towards the end of the Sharks' narrow play-off victory over the Highlanders, will start his first match in the black and white for over four months. His inclusion means that Frans Steyn will move to his favoured inside centre position, with Paul Jordaan starting outside of him. JP Pietersen, who started in the No 13 jumper last weekend, will move to the right wing with S'bura Sithole dropping to the bench. The rest of the backline remains unchanged, with Cobus Rienach retaining his place despite a mixed bag last weekend.

Up front, the Sharks have gone big in a bid to prevent going home. Willem Alberts has shifted to lock in place of the injured Anton Bresler, while his place on the side of the scrum is taken by Jean Deysel.

Sharks director of rugby Jake White was at pains to stress just how good a side he believes the Crusaders to be, and that his team would not underestimate their opponents.

'The Crusaders are a phenomenal team, we’re under no illusions of how good they are and what they’ve achieved, but we just have to prepare as best we can to give ourselves a chance,' he explained.

'They have players in their team who won the World Cup a few years ago, they have guys who are consistently in play-off games, the team hasn’t missed out on play-off rugby in a long time, and all these guys have been part and parcel of play-off games, so I have no doubt that with the team they have available and the experience they have, they’ll be a massive force.'

Sharks – 15 SP Marais, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (c), 1 Thomas du Toit.
Subs: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Tera Mtembu, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 S’bura Sithole, 23 Tonderai Chavhanga.

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images