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White didn’t quite have a like-forlike replacement loose forward for big bruiser Louw, with Arno Botha also out with a hamstring issue, while injured captain Duane Vermeulen has been replaced at No 8 by Marcell Coetzee.
But still, to effectively make two changes to solve one problem – as Janko Swanepoel now replaces Nortje at No 5 – is not usually White’s style.
To add to the intrigue, White said Nortje could evolve into a fine No 7 from the second row, just like Pieter-Steph du Toit – adding that being able to play two positions would be good for his “career going forward”.
But the bigger picture is the Rainbow Cup final in Treviso next Saturday, where Benetton are waiting to see whether they will face the Bulls or Sharks.
White’s team need only a single bonus point to advance, while the Sharks need a bonus-point victory and need to prevent the Bulls from getting one themselves at Kings Park.
“Correct, that’s exactly it (motivation to win in Durban). If you go there … it’s like playing 50-over cricket. If you just want to block out and think you can bat through the 50 overs, you can’t win – the reality is that you need to make runs,” White said.
“It’s going to be an exciting game because we also want to score four tries. The one way we know we get a point is if we score four tries. And that is exciting, because it means we are going to go flat-out for four tries and they are going flat-out for four tries.
“Once we get four tries, then we’ve got our destiny in our hands again. And I’m almost sure if we score four tries, we will be close to winning the game as well.
“I’m excited about the fact that we scored four tries against them here, we scored four against the Stormers, we scored five against the Lions. So, it will be a nice opportunity for us to see if we can keep that momentum going.”
Asked if that actually meant that the Bulls are going to kick their penalties and launch up-and-unders, White said: “Oh ja! That’s how you play the Sharks – isn’t that how you play them?”
15 David Kriel 14 Madosh Tambwe 13 Marco Jansen van Vuren 12 Cornal Hendricks 11 Stravino Jacobs 10 Morné Steyn 9 Ivan van Zyl 8 Marcell Coetzee (captain) 7 Ruan Nortjé 6 Marco van Staden 5 Janko Swanepoel 4 Walt Steenkamp 3 Mornay Smith 2 Johan Grobbelaar 1 Gerhard Steenekamp
Bench: 16 Schalk Erasmus 17 Jacques van Rooyen 18 Trevor Nyakane 19 Nizaam Carr 20 Muller Uys 21 Keagan Johannes 22 Clinton Swart 23 Gio Aplon