Sharks flanker Jean Deysel returns to the starting line-up for Friday's Super Rugby game against the Blues. Picture: Gallo Images
Influential flanker Jean Deysel will start his first game of the Super Rugby season when the Sharks take on the Blues in Auckland on Friday (9.35am kick-off SA time).
Having undergone a long rehabilitation process after off-season surgery, Deysel has been brought back into action carefully, playing the last two matches off the bench.
However, Sharks coach John Plumtree has now opted to give big Willem Alberts a rest, and has handed Deysel the No 7 jersey for the first time this season.
So it will be a big game for Deysel, as it will be for flyhalf Pat Lambie who returns to the starting line-up after missing the last two games with a dental problem.
Lambie is a key player in the Sharks team, and his presence has been sorely missed over the last couple of weeks.
In the only other change to the starting line-up from last Friday, lock Anton Bresler rotates with young Jandre Marais.
With the Sharks dwelling down in ninth place on the overall log, Friday’s match has become a must-win match before returning to South Africa, and they will be going all out to secure a positive result.
Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Louis Ludik, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Jandré Marais, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Jacques Botes, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Frederic Michalak.
Blues: 15 Rudi Wulf, 14 Hadleigh Parkes, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Rene Ranger, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Chris Lowrey, 7 Daniel Braid, 6 Luke Braid, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Peter Saili, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Michael Hobbs, 22 George Moala.