The Sharks tried their hearts out to register a remarkable draw against the Crusaders in Christchurch last weekend, becoming the first Super Rugby team to avoid defeat there in 26 games and coach Robert du Preez has decided to reward most of them with another outing against the Chiefs in Hamilton tomorrow, while resting a couple of players who were at the forefront of a massive defensive effort.
Inside centre Andre Esterhuizen gets a well-deserved break, being replaced by Marius Louw, while impressive eighthman Dan du Preez is also resting, with workhorse Jacques Vermeulen returning to the starting loose trio.
He will be playing openside flank, with Philip van der Walt shifting to the back of the scrum.
Hyron Andrews comes into the second row in place of Ruben van Heerden, with Tyler Paul also returning on the bench, along with utility back Kobus Van Wyk, flank Luke Stringer and hooker Fezokuhle Mbatha. Springbok Akker van der Merwe has returned home with a shoulder injury.
“We know how tough it is to tour and how tough this whole competition is and to beat the Waratahs away for the first time in 19 years was a great feat. We’re very pleased where we are after six points from our first two games on tour, but obviously this game against the Chiefs is massive for us as well. But the boys have got a lot of belief now,” coach Du Preez said.
Curwin Bosch will again start at flyhalf, with Robert du Preez junior on the bench.
“Curwin has played really well, he’s done really well for us at flyhalf these last two games,” Du Preez Sr said.
Sharks: Aphelele Fassi, Sbu Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am, Marius Louw, Makazole Mapimpi, Curwn Bosch, Louis Schreuder (c), Philip van der Walt, Jean-Luc du Preez, Jacques Vermeulen, Ruan Botha, Hyron Andrews, Coenie Oosthuizen, Kerron van Vuuren, Thomas du Toit. Bench: Fez Mbatha, Mzamo Majola, John-Hubert Meyer, Tyler Paul, Luke Stringer, Cameron Wright, Robert du Preez jr, Kobus van Wyk.