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Super Rugby preview: Sharks v Crusaders
Francois Steyn will run out in the number fifteen jersey when the Sharks play host to the Crusaders at Kings Park in Durban on Friday.
Louis Ludik is bracketed in with S'Bura Sithole on the bench, pending a late fitness test. The loss of Lwazi Mvovo to a hand injury means JP Pietersen moves across to his wing with Odwa Ndungane slotting in on the other.
Jannie du Plessis will start at tighthead prop with Wiehahn Herbst shifting to the bench in the only change to the forward pack that featured against the Rebels.
Pieter-Steph du Toit will continue in the second row as his development is given a real test against a quality side like the Crusaders.
After last week's line-out problems suffered by the Stormers, the Sharks are well-aware of the importance of getting the set-piece functioning and Du Toit will have a big role to play.
Crusaders hooker Corey Flynn has been forced to withdraw from the match due to injury.
Flynn injured an eye at training on Wednesday and his place in the starting line-up will be taken by Ben Funnell.
They are already without wing Johnny McNicholl, who suffered a broken ankle last weekend, and front row Owen Franks, who suffered damaged ribs against the Sharks.
Full-back Israel Dagg missed that match with hamstring trouble but returns on the bench.
Sharks: 15 Francois Steyn, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Keegan Daniel (c), 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Ryan Kankowski, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Riaan Viljoen, 22 Louis Ludik/S'bura Sithole.
Crusaders: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Adam Whitelock, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock (captain), 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Dominic Bird, 19 Jordan Taufua, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Telusa Veainu, 22 Israel Dagg.
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|Friday 13th February|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Melbourne Rebels|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Reds|
|17:10||Lions vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 14th February|
|06:35||Blues vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Sharks vs Cheetahs|
|17:05||Bulls vs Stormers|
|Sunday 15th February|
|06:05||Waratahs vs Western Force|
|Friday 20th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Brumbies|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Waratahs|
|17:10||Bulls vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 21st February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Reds vs Western Force|
|15:05||Stormers vs Blues|
|17:10||Sharks vs Lions|
|Friday 27th February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Reds|
|11:00||Western Force vs Hurricanes|
|17:10||Cheetahs vs Blues|
|Saturday 28th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Brumbies|
|15:05||Bulls vs Sharks|
|17:10||Lions vs Stormers|
|Friday 6th March|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Highlanders|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Western Force|
|Saturday 7th March|
|06:35||Blues vs Lions|
|08:40||Reds vs Waratahs|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com