Jacques Nienaber has selected Damian Willemse at 15 with Willie le Roux covering flyhalf and fullback from the bench. Elton Jantjies will run the show from flyhalf.
Stormers fans will be upset that Elrigh Louw has been selected instead of Evan Roos, but I assume the thinking is that Louw will be better cover for 7 with Kwagga for 6 and 8. The pressure will be on Jasper Wiese to show that he is the man to take over from Thor.
The Sharks have loaded the Currie Cup team with URC players to see if a last chance saloon win against WP can get the team into the Currie Cup semi-finals. Even a bonus point win against WP will only be enough should Pumas and Griquas draw the next game, or Griquas beat the Pumas, or the Pumas trounce the Griquas while denying them a bonus point and the Sharks winning score against WP combined with the Pumas winning score exceeds 61 points, or Pumas beat the Griquas by one point with no bonus point and the Sharks winning score exceeds 67 points.
Sean Everitt has gone for continuity with only 1 change to the starting lineup (Le Roux Roets at 4 with Ruben van Heerden dropping to the bench). This week he is using a 5-3 bench split with Ben Tapui rejoining the squad.
The pundits are talking up the Bulls (and the Stormers): Matfield believes Bulls’ better coaching will trump Sharks’ star power in URC showdown. Mallett backs Bulls for URC title charge.
Bookies are currently giving odds of 1.53 for a Bulls win with the Sharks at 2.58.
It will certainly be a close game that the Sharks can win, but the team will need to make better decisions, cut down on mistakes and show absolutely 100% commitment from every player in the squad.
Even though the big Sharks game on Saturday is the URC quarter-final at 13:45, there will also be a Currie Cup game at Kings Park at 17:00. The Sharks will face a strong Lions team (free to use all of their URC players) with 5 uncapped players in the squad (including the two hookers).
With only 2 log points ahead of the Pumas the Sharks need to win this game (or hope the Cheetahs beat the Pumas by more than 7 and prevent them from scoring 4 tries).