Steyn returns at 12

Frans Steyn will start at inside centre in one of seven changes to the Sharks' side for the match against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.

Director of rugby Gary Gold has wielded the axe following the Sharks' capitulation against the Highlanders last weekend which effectively ended their play-off hopes.

Steyn, who has missed the past five weeks through suspension, will partner JP Pietersen in midfield, while Stefan Ungerer and Lionel Cronjé will form a new halfback pairing. Fred Zeilinga seems to have paid the price for a poor first-half showing in Dunedin and misses out altogether.

There has also been a reshuffle among the back three, with Lwazi Mvovo shifting to fullback – a position he filled regularly during Jake White's reign – while Odwa Ndungane reverts to the right wing, with S'bura Sithole on the left.

Among the forwards, Gold has been able to select his Springbok front row for the first time in six weeks, while Renaldo Bothma replaces Willem Alberts, who is suffering with an ankle knock.

'The Hurricanes are a team on an absolute high at the moment, their performance against the Crusaders was outstanding and this is probably going to be a big challenge for our players at this moment in time, with our backs against the wall,' said Gold. 'We’re playing the best team in the competition, it’s going to be an unbelievable challenge, but one that’s going to make us grow as a group.

'From our point of view, we need to concentrate on the things we can do well, we know we have the ability to do well, even though we haven’t done it very often. But we’re a proud bunch of guys and this is an opportunity against the odds to step up to the plate.'

Sharks – 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 S'bura Sithole, 10 Lionel Cronjé, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Etienne Oosthuizen, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Kyle Cooper, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 André Esterhuizen, 23 Waylon Murray.

Super Rugby teams (Round 13)

Photo: Sabelo Mngoma/BackpagePix