Fez Mbatha will start at hooker in a new-look pack selected for the Sharks’ Vodacom United Rugby Championship match against the Glasgow Warriors on Saturday.
Head coach Sean Everitt has made three changes to his starting lineup, bringing in Mbatha for Kerron van Vuuren at hooker while Ruben van Heerden returns to the starting XV, with Gerbrandt Grobler moving to flank in the place of Henco Venter.
In the final change, Murray Koster takes over from Marius Louw at centre.
Koster and replacements Lourens Adriaanse, Thembelani Bholi, James Venter and Tian Meyer all make their URC debuts for the Sharks.
Sharks assistant coach John Mcfarland highlighted the positive and negative from their round-one match, citing the penalty count, but hinting at the team’s excellent defence. Against the Warriors, tightening up on discipline will have a significant influence on the game.
“The big thing we need to work on is our discipline, the penalties put us under pressure,” he admitted. “Munster had 12 entries into our 22 of which 12 came from penalties – that’s the only way they got into our 22. But we’ve made great strides and there has been improvement in our discipline. I think some of the interpretations on the weekend were very different and we have to get used to them, and quickly.”
With the game played on artificial turf, Mcfarland warned that the tempo and pace will be very high which will require plenty of energy on both attack and defence.
“We’re excited about the surface we’re playing on, I think it will be a quicker game and we know Glasgow like to keep the ball in hand, so we have to make our tackles and that’s something we can’t fault the players for last weekend – that was a real positive actually.”
Sharks – 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Werner Kok, 12 Murray Koster, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi (c), 7 Gerbrandt Grobler, 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Fez Mbatha, 1 Khwezi Mona.
Subs: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 James Venter, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Jeremy Ward.