Du Plessis has not recovered from a thigh injury that confined him to the bench against the Hurricanes last week and where he was among the substitutes last week as a precaution, this week he has been replaced by Kyle Cooper, the former Glenwood High pupil who was called up from a Sharks XV that has been making big waves in the Vodacom Cup.
The loss of Bismarck would have been more keenly felt had it not been for the fact that last week’s starting hooker, Craig Burden, was the Sharks’ best player against the Canes, grasping his chance when suddenly finding both John Smit and Bismarck out of the picture.
The powerfully-built Burden had a great game – he was a hard-running wing at Maritzburg College, now he is a hard-running hooker after being persuaded to change positions by former All Black No 8 Murray Mexted at his renowned Iranz Academy in New Zealand when Burden spent time there.
The return of Lambie for Frederic Michalak after a dental injury against the Waratahs in the opening tour match is timely for the Sharks going into their tour wind-up against the Blues on Friday. It is a measure of the calibre of the flyhalf that at the tender age of 21 he is already being spoken about as a key player who brings calmness to proceedings and who is conspicuous by his absence.
It is not even that Michalak has been playing that badly – he was much better against the Hurricanes than he had been the week before against the Brumbies which, ironically, was the game the Sharks won out of the two.
In rotational changes to the pack, one battering ram is exchanged for another with Jean Deysel coming in for Willem Alberts, who will be on the bench, and Anton Bresler swapping places with Jan Andre Marais in the second row.
The Blues also named their team.
Coach Pat Lam has made changes to the star-studded side that was shocked by the lowly Rebels in Melbourne last week, including benching World Cup All Blacks in lock Ali Williams and scrumhalf Piri Weepu.
Liaki Moli comes in to replace Williams.
Openside flank Dan Braid has recovered from injury and takes his place in the loose trio alongside his younger brother Luke.
Chris Lowrey moves from blindside to No 8, taking over from Brad Mika.
In the backline Hadleigh Parkes takes over on the right wing from Lachie Munro.
Albie Mathewson is at No 9 ahead of Weepu, who has admitted he took it easy in the off-season following the All Blacks’ win at the World Cup and arrived at the Blues from the Hurricanes overweight.