Steyn back, but still no Lambie
Steyn back, but still no LambieSHARE
As expected Sharks boss Jake White has rested a number of his overworked Springboks, with Frans Steyn's selection the most significant this week.
As the South African conference winners enter the Super Rugby home straight, ahead of the play-offs later this month, it will be a much-changed starting XV that travel to Bloemfontein to tackle the Cheetahs on Saturday.
Steyn, who controversially walked out on the Springboks last month over a contractual dispute with the South African Rugby Union, will start at inside centre.
Despite the return of Patrick Lambie being delayed, White opted to start Tim Swiel in the No.10 jersey and named Steyn at No.12.
With the heavy workload suffered by the Sharks and Springbok front row, White opted for rotation.
Dale Chadwick, Kyle Cooper and Lourens Adriaanse will start – with the Du Plessis brothers, Bismarck and Jannie, playing off the bench.
Tendai Mtawarira is still recovering from the neck injury (bulged disc) he suffered in the Tests against Wales last month.
Anton Bresler, who will join Scottish club Edinburgh at the conclusion of the Super Rugby season, makes a welcome return to action – after recovering from a shoulder injury.
He has been named in the new-look second row alongside new Springbok Stefan Lewies, while Jean Deysel takes over the captaincy armband.
The bench, loaded with six Springboks, should provide plenty of firepower in the latter stages of this vital clash.
Thomas du Toit, back from an outstanding campaign for the South African Under-20 side, has earned a call-up to the senior side, having featured in the Vodacom Cup for the Sharks XV earlier this season.
Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Sibusiso Sithole, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel (captain), 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Thomas du Toit, 17 Bismarck du Plessis, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Lubabalo Mtembu, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Odwa Ndungane, 23 Tonderai Chavhanga.
Date: Saturday, July 5
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry (South Africa), Francois de Bruin (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)