Craig Burden will start in the No 2 jersey for the Sharks this weekend. Picture: Steve Haag/ Gallo Images
Explosive hooker Craig Burden will start his first game of the Super Rugby season when the Sharks take on the Hurricanes in New Plymouth, New Zealand, on Friday (9.35am kick-off SA time).
Incumbent No 2 Bismarck du Plessis has been battling with a quad strain this week and so coach John Plumtree has opted to give the Springbok star somewhat of a rest by picking him among the substitutes.
In his absence from the starting line-up, it will be a big opportunity for Burden to make his presence felt, with the well-built youngster having waited patiently to get his chance this season.
Burden’s elevation to the run-on XV is one of just two changes to the Sharks team from last weekend, with Louis Ludik replacing the injured Odwa Ndungane on the wing.
Ndungane sustained a groin injury in training and has had to return home, with Conrad Hoffmann receiving the call-up to join the squad overseas.
After Friday’s all-important game against the Hurricanes, the Sharks will complete their overseas leg with a clash against the Blues in Auckland.
Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Louis Ludik, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Jandré Marais, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Jacques Botes, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22. Marius Joubert/Paul Jordaan.
Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Faifili Levave, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Jack Lam, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 James Broadhurst, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben May.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Michael Bent, 18 Jeremy Thrush, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Chris Eaton, 21 Tusi Pisi, 22 Charlie Ngatai.