With Sharks captain Lukhanyo Am given a break this week‚ exciting half-back Sanele Nohamba gets a chance to start at scrumhalf in Saturday’s Super Rugby encounter between the Durban side and the Rebels in Ballarat.
After Boeta Chamberlain’s concussion ended his tour early‚ Nohamba battled gamely at 10‚ but with Curwin Bosch back and starting this week‚ the feisty scrumhalf has slotted back at nine as a starter.
Bosch missed last week’s 38-22 loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington because of a family bereavement.
While the Sharks’ backs were solid with Chamberlain and slightly spectacular with Nohamba operating at 10‚ they missed Bosch at pivot with his astute tactical kicking and game management. His creative role becomes critical with Am sitting out.
Am is the midfield life and soul of the Durban franchise but André Esterhuizen‚ who will captain the team and Jeremy Ward‚ who starts in his place‚ do not have his creative nous.
They do serve a critical defensive purpose‚ which will be required against a Rebels side that is far from pretty‚ but not yet effective enough to be scary.
However‚ their conservatism worked wonders for them when they constricted the Waratahs in Melbourne last week.
The Sharks also have Thomas du Toit back in the starting line-up as the prop missed the Hurricanes game through illness.
The Rebels have changes of their own in flyhalf Matt Toomua and wing Reece Hodge being replaced by Andrew Deegan and Andrew Kellaway respectively.
Kellaway came off the bench last week and scored a late brace against his former team.
Prop Jermaine Ainsley and inside centre Billy Meakes will be playing in their 50th Super Rugby matches.
Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty (c)‚ 14 Andrew Kellaway‚ 13 Campbell Magnay‚ 12 Billy Meakes‚ 11 Marika Koroibete‚ 10 Andrew Deegan‚ 9 Ryan Louwrens‚ 8 Isi Naisarani‚ 7 Richard Hardwick‚ 6 Michael Wells‚ 5 Matt Philip‚ 4 Ross Haylett-Petty‚ 3 Jermaine Ainsley‚ 2 Steven Misa‚ 1 Matt Gibbon.
Subs: 16 Anaru Rangi‚ 17 Cameron Orr‚ 18 Ruan Smith‚ 19 Gideon Koegelenberg‚ 20 Angus Cottrell‚ 21 Rob Leota‚ 22 Frank Lomani‚ 23 Tom English.
Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi‚ 14 Madosh Tambwe‚ 13 Jeremy Ward‚ 12 André Esterhuizen‚ 11 Makazole Mapimpi‚ 10 Curwin Bosch‚ 9 Sanele Nohamba‚ 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe‚ 7 Tyler Paul‚ 6 James Venter‚ 5 Hyron Andrews‚ 4 Ruben van Heerden‚ 3 Thomas du Toit‚ 2 Kerron van Vuuren‚ 1 Ox Nche
Subs: 16 Craig Burden; 17 Mzamo Majola; 18 John-Hubert Meyer; 19. Le Roux Roets; 20 Henco Venter; 21 Louis Schreuder; 22 Marius Louw; 23 Lwazi Mvovo
Referee: AJ Jacobs (SA)
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy (Australia)‚ James Quinn (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)