There is a formidable look about the Sharks line-up as they eye their opening match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein next Sunday.
At fullback, Louis Ludik is favoured ahead of Riaan Viljoen and that is fair enough considering the fine season Ludik enjoyed last year. On the wings, Odwa Ndungane has been the one to lose out in pre-season matches, with JP Pietersen coming into the side and Lwazi Mvovo retaining his place.
Paul Jordaan has been picked at 13 for the injured Tim Whitehead and he has partnered captain Francois Steyn in the midfield.
Cobus Reinach is in a battle for the halfback position with Charl McLeod, who had a good warm-up game against the Leopards.
At No 8, Tera Mtembu should be rewarded for his fine form although Springbok Ryan Kankowski will be his competition for the position but the Springbok he has not been considered for pre-season matches and has been sent to the gym to work on his conditioning following an undemanding season in Japan.
The Sharks loose forwards have had injury concerns with Keegan Daniel (knee), Marcell Coetzee (hip) and Willem Alberts in doubt.
The second row comprises experienced Anton Bresler and Franco Van der Merwe.
With Bismarck du Plessis on the injury list, Craig Burden is being pushed by the exciting Kyle Cooper.
The front row has a familiar look to it now that Jannie du Plessis is back at tighthead and The Beast at loosehead.By Mike Greenaway Email Mike