Smit on the bench for the Sharks

John Smit finds himself on the bench again for the Sharks’ Super 15 qualifier against the Crusaders in Nelson on Saturday.

Coach John Plumtree opted to stick with the majority of players who started against the Bulls last week.

The only change to the starting XV comes at number eight where Willem Alberts comes in for Ryan Kankowski, while the bench has been boosted by the return of Jacques Botes and Eugene van Staden.

The two players left out are Marcell Coetzee and Wiehahn Herbst respectively.

Odwa Ndungane, fit again after a hand injury, has been excluded as Plumtree rewarded those who helped topple the Bulls 26-23 at Loftus Versfeld in their last game.

The Sharks have never beaten the seven-time champions in New Zealand and the Crusaders have never lost a home final or semi-final.

The highest place winner of the two playoffs will face the Stormers at Newlands next week while the lowest placed winner will take on the Reds in Brisbane.

The Sharks: Patrick Lambie, JP Pietersen, Stefan Terblanche (captain), Meyer Bosman, Lwazi Mvovo, Frederic Michalak, Charl McLeod, Willem Alberts, Jean Deysel, Keegan Daniel, Alistair Hargreaves, Gerhard Mostert, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: John Smit, Eugene van Staden, Ross Skeate, Ryan Kankowski, Jacques Botes, Adrian Jacobs, Louis Ludik. — Sapa

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