After their defeat of 23-22 and their feeble fifth place on the score sheet, Rudy Joubert, coach, is forced to ply the pruning shears in an attempt to keep alive the Pukke’s claim to a place in the semi-finals.
The Jacobs twins, Ruan and Niëll, are both posted, whilst l Willem Barnard, Francois Robbertse, Jaco Lötter, Stoffel Duvenage and BG Uys have also lost their places in the fifteen for the come hell or high water tug of war against this year’s wooden spoon team in Port Elizabeth.
The exciting Dauw Steyn replaces Niëll Jacobs on fly-half, whilst Kempie Rautenbach will be Wouter Watermeyer’s centre mate.
Watermeyer makes a return at the expense or Barnard, following about two weeks on the injury list due to a rib injury.
Stoffel Duvenage, Pukke hooker, is one of seven players that have been posted for the weekend’s Varsity Cup match against NMMU, following the team’s defeat last Monday against UJ.
At loose forward Robbertse makes way for the Leopards’ PJ van Zyl, with the rock hard Jan Rose who will scrum on the side above Lötter.
Duvenage and Uys will keep warm the replacement bench, with Dewald Coetzee and BW van Dyk who will be given a chance to play.
Joubert has also obtained the services of prop Martin Dreyer, which means that the highly reputed Stephan Bezuidenhout will miss out on the Bay’s tussle.
Last year Steyn (21) experienced a dream season for the Sharks in the u.21 Currie Cup Series and will make his Varsity Cup entrance, after shrugging off a bothersome hamstring muscle injury.
“I am excitedly looking forward to eventually being able to play in the series,” Steyn said.
“I have been playing for the Leopards (in a practice match against the Pumas) the past few weeks and for Ibbies and I am satisfied with my performance level.”
Steyn’s deadly kicking foot, razor sharp break throughs and diehard defence is a welcome addition to the Puk team, which at times in the series struggled tactically and displayed gigantic defects on the defence.
“I think the chaps’ attention was distracted by the huge ballyhoo that is being made about the Varsity Cup, and against UJ the moment was just too big,” Steyn said.
“In our training sessions everything is progressing 100% according to plan, but it seems everyone wants to do his own thing during the matches.”
According to Steyn there will be no room for frills and furbelows against the Madibaz.
“They may be right at the bottom of the score sheet, but we cannot afford to underestimate them.
“We realise they have nothing to lose, whilst we simply have to get five points from the match.”
The team comprises of:
Theuns Kotze, Andrew van Wyk, Kempie Rautenbach, Wouter Watermeyer, Jo Seerane, Dauw Steyn, Andries Mahoney, PJ van Zyl, Siya Mdaka, Jan Rose, Markus Fourie, Dirco Rautenbach (captain), Aranos Coetzee, BW van Dyk, Dewald Coetzee.
REPLACEMENTS: BG Uys, Stoffel Duvenage, Martin Dreyer, Edwin Hewitt, Jaco Lötter, Willem Barnard, Wentsley Scott, Dane Johnson.
Head Coach: Rudy Joubert
Date: Maandag, 1 Maart
Place: Xerox NMMU Stadion
Referee: Bongani Maloni