World Cup-winning wing Makazole Mapimpi is back in the Sharks team for the Rainbow Cup SA clash against the Lions in Joburg on Saturday.
Mapimpi returned to Durban two weeks ago after spending the last few months playing club rugby in Japan.
It will be the try machine’s first outing in Sharks colours since before the Rugby World Cup, where he scored the first of the Boks’ two tries in the final against England.
Mapimpi’s selection is one of a number of changes coach Sean Everitt has made to the team.
Up front, the coach has picked an all-new front row in Ntuthuko Mchunu, Kerron van Vuuren and Wiehahn Herbst taking over from Ox Nche, Fez Mbatha and Thomas du Toit, all of whom will make an appearance later in the game off the bench.
In the second row, Hyron Andrews returns to the side in the place of Reniel Hugo while James Venter is a welcome inclusion after a long-term injury.
Phepsi Buthelezi will play at eighthman, with Thembelani Bholi named on the bench and Henco Venter taking over the captaincy from Lukhanyo Am and shifting back to flank.
Other backline changes besides Mapimpi returning, see Manie Libbok replacing Curwin Bosch at flyhalf, Yaw Penxe taking over from the injured Sbu Nkosi on the other wing and Werner Kok replacing Am at centre. The final change sees Anthony Volmink coming in for Aphelele Fassi at fullback.
Sharks: Anthony Volmink, Yaw Penxe, Werner Kok, Marius Louw, Makazole Mapimpi, Manie Libbok, Jaden Hendrikse, Phepsi Buthelezi, Henco Venter (capt), James Venter, Hyron Andrews, JJ van der Mescht, Wiehahn Herbst, Kerron van Vuuren, Ntuthuko Mchunu. Bench: Fez Mbatha, Ox Nche, Thomas du Toit, Ruben van Heerden, Thembelani Bholi, Grant Williams, Boeta Chamberlain, Jeremy Ward