The persistent question that’s always puzzled coaches who have had Siya Kolisi’s dexterous talents at their disposal has always been whether to play him at openside or blindside flank.
But that problem won’t faze Sharks coach Sean Everitt, who seems malleable enough in his approach to tweak their style to let Kolisi to slot into his comfortable No 6 jersey for the Bulls clash on Friday night.
The “double blindside” back row was hugely effective for the Springboks under then-head coach and SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, as it gave maximum physical protection in the pack by having Pieter-Steph du Toit and Kolisi dovetailing on the hard stuff.
Everitt said Kolisi would play a “different type” of No 6 role at Kings Park than he did at the Stormers, which will be interesting to see.
“Siya had a full week of training last week and another full week of training this week with the team and he’s come on really well,” said Everitt.
“He deserves a start and an opportunity to show us what he can do in the black and white. Siya is starting at No 6, with Henco at No 7 and Notshe at No 8.
“James Venter unfortunately is out injured and Dylan Richardson is not well at this stage, so Siya gets to start in the No 6 jersey.
“He will be fulfilling a different type of six role to the one he did at Western Province, so we are hoping he will come through well and do a good job for us there.”
Everitt introduced the “double blindside” formation in last Saturday’s preparation series match between the Sharks and the Lions, where Thembelani Bholi played in the No 6 jumper and promising youngster Celimpilo Gumede played at No 7.
It meant that openside flank Richardson switched back to the hooker role from the bench, a position he is still coming to grips with.
Injuries to both openside fetchers Venter and Richardson could have twisted Everitt’s hand but it’s difficult to imagine that the coach would have deviated too much from the team he eventually selected had those two been available.
“I thought Dylan performed really well last week, so it’s a pity he won’t get another shot to get some continuity in the No 2 jersey,” added Everitt.
Venter left the field after a pectoral strain injury during their preparation series game against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein two weeks ago.
Friday’s clash at Kings Park is scheduled for 19:00.
15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Emile van Heerden, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Fez Mbatha, 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Phepsi Buthelezi, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Rynhardt Jonker, 23 Aphelele Fassi
15 Richard Kriel, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Marnus Potgieter, 12 Dawid Kellerman, 11 Diego Appollis, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Zak Burger, 8 Nizaam Carr (captain), 7 Tim Agaba, 6 Werner Gouws, 5 Janko Swanepoel, 4 Jan Uys, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Schalk Erasmus, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Substitutes: 16 Janco Uys, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Raynard Roets, 20 WJ Steenkamp, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Clinton Swart, 23 Jay-Cee Nel, 24 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 25 Reinhardt Ludwig, 26 Bernard van der Linde, 27 Niel Beukes