Tension is high among the Sharks and Lions fans leading up to the match at Ellis Park this week. With home ground advantage and the momentum of their last three wins, the Lions are going to be a tough nut to crack. They only have 4 changes to their side this week and have showed a lot of consistency as far as their game strategy, not to mention their discipline on the field which has been exemplary. The Lions have only beaten the men in black once in the last eleven match ups which means they’ll definitely come out all guns blazing.
The Sharks will see several changes to the side that faced the Crusaders last week including a new captain in Marco Wentzel who is the 4th man to take the reins for the sharks this season. Wentzel will back a fresh front row featuring Lourens Adriaanse, Franco Marais and Dale Chadwick, while the Springbok props Jannie du Plessis and Beast Mtawarira are rested – this in compliance with the SARU enforced ruling. Renaldo Bothma will replace the suspended Deysel at flank and Fred Zeilinga replaces the injured Lambie at fly half. Odwa Ndungane will move to fullback in the absence of SP Marais which will ensure S’bura Sithole a chance on the wing.
These substantial changes are sure to rock the Sharks boat and it will be a tough test to see if the team can come together with only a week’s training under the belt. Perhaps a few fresh faces are exactly what the Sharks need to get their discipline in check and their heads in the game.
Director of Sharks Rugby Gary Gold had this to say:
‘Our performance this past weekend was unacceptable and we have taken full responsibility for the result and are determined to fix it this weekend, I believe in these players, we have a great group of guys. We are just not playing well at the moment and nobody can deny that. We are just going to have to show some character. We are going to have to step up to the plate. It’s as simple as that.’
The Lions will try and get early points on the board with the use of Elton Jantjies reliable boot. They will try and capitalise on the Sharks inexperience this week, but if the Sharks can get a sneaky try in, it will see the Lions on the back foot which is exactly where we want them. Gear up Sharks fans, this is not a game to be missed.
– Sam Wilson