Sharks coach John Plumtree will forge ahead with his plan to turn World Cup-winning Springbok wing JP Pietersen into a world class outside centre.
Pietersen will wear the No.13 jersey in the opening round of Super Rugby action, when the Sharks take on the three-time champion the Bulls in Pretoria on Friday.
It will be Pietersen's first start at outside centre in a Super Rugby match, although he featured at No.13 for the Sharks in their pre-season outings.
Plumtree has also named new signings Tim Whitehead and Riaan Viljoen in the starting XV for the first time in a competitive match for the Durban franchise, while Dale Chadwick's selection in the front row means three debutants will start for the coastal side.
Another debutant, Paul Jordaan, sits on the bench.
Chadwick was one of the stand-out players for a young Sharks team during last season's Currie Cup campaign.
Steven Sykes, who rejoined six months after leaving for Irish club Leinster, is also back in the Black and White and starts at lock.
Flanker Keegan Daniel captain's the team officially for the first time in Super Rugby after taking over the armband from the departed John Smit, with national hooker Bismarck du Plessis his deputy.
Springboks Lwazi Mvovo, Patrick Lambie, Ryan Kankowski and Jannie du Plessis also start, along with French ace Frederic Michalak.
"It's been a long and hard pre-season," Plumtree said, adding: "The boys are just looking forward to get going now.
"It comes to a point when all the work is done and the players can look forward to a game at the highest level. The mood at training is mirroring that, the boys are a bit grumpy and now they just want to get out there and play. We're all looking forward to it."
Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Louis Ludik, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Frederic Michalak, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Keegan Daniel (captain), 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Ross Skeate, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Paul Jordaan.
Date: Friday, February 24
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Pro Legoete (South Africa), Tiaan Jonker (South Africa)
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)
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