Sharks head coach Robert du Preez has named Curwin Bosch at fly-half for their Super Rugby clash with the Waratahs at Western Sydney Stadium.
With rotation and picking the strongest team possible for the match in mind, Du Preez has shuffled his side around for this vital clash hoping for a positive outcome to set the tone for the remainder of the tour.
In all there are six changes to the starting line-up with the welcome return of Ruan Botha and Akker van der Merwe, who have both been named on the bench.
Up front, Thomas du Toit comes in for Coenie Oosthuizen while Jean-Luc du Preez replaces Jacques Vermeulen, with the remainder of the changes in the backline where Cameron Wright starts to give Louis Schreuder a well-earned rest (although he is selected on the bench), forming a new half-back partnership with Bosch, who starts at fly-half with Robert du Preez playing off the bench.
Makazole Mapimpi in for Lwazi Mvovo on the wing and Lukhanyo Am replacing Kobus van Wyk, back after a week’s mandatory rest, are the final two changes.
“The plan was to rotate and make changes to the team, we need to make sure that everyone is engaged on this tour. We have a 27-man squad and it’s important that every single player feels that they have an opportunity to play and to contribute,” said head coach Du Preez.
“There are a few players in our squad who have played a lot of games and we have been resting some in the last few weeks. There are a couple of guys who have played 80-minute games and we’re looking at managing their practice and more specifically game-time appropriately.
“We have a very strong playing 23 with a really solid bench and we’re looking forward to a strong showing against the Waratahs.”
Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Beast Mtawarira (c) Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Mazamo Majola, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Ruan Botha, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Robert du Preez, 23 Marius Louw
Date: Saturday, April 27 Venue: Western Sydney Stadium, Sydney Kick-off: 19:45 local (10:45 BST, 09:45 GMT) Referee: Nic Berry (Australia) Assistant referees: Damon Murphy (Australia), Amy Perrett (Australia) TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)