Madosh Tambwe will make his return to the Sharks’ starting lineup in one of five personnel changes to face the Pumas in Nelspruit on Saturday.
Sharks head coach Sean Everitt has had to make a number of changes due to injury, while also using rotation to keep the squad both fresh and battle hardened.
In the only change to the backline, Tambwe will also get his first run in the competition in place of Werner Kok, who has been rested after playing every one of the Sharks’ games so far.
Tambwe recently recovered from a hamstring injury, which caused him to miss the Sharks’ opening win over the Lions.
There are plenty of changes in the pack, which features a rejigged back row as both Sikhumbuzo Notshe and James Venter sit out the clash with a hamstring strain and ankle injury, respectively. It is hoped that Notshe will be fit to face the Cheetahs next weekend.
Phepsi Buthelezi shifts from blindside flank to No 8 to cover for Notshe, with Henco Venter coming into the starting lineup as a result. Dylan Richardson, who has been playing at hooker, moves to openside flank.
Richardson’s place in the front row is taken by former Maties and Western Province hooker Dan Jooste, who makes his first start of the competition. There is also a start for John-Hubert Meyer, who replaces injured Springbok tighthead prop Thomas du Toit.
In the remaining change, JJ van der Mescht rotates into the starting lineup, with Ruben van Heerden dropping to the bench to manage his workload.
There are two debutants named on the bench: former Stormers and Western Province tighthead Michael Kumbirai and Thembelani Bholi, who hails from the Eastern Cape and has represented the Southern Kings as well as the Vodacom Bulls and Pumas.
Sharks – 15 Manie Libbok, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (c), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Phendulani Buthelezi, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Dylan Richardson 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 JJ van der Mescht, 3 John Hubert-Meyer, 2 Dan Jooste, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Yaw Penxe.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images