Preview: Lions vs Sharks
- 27 Sep 2013
The Golden Lions and Sharks will go into their Currie Cup clash at Ellis Park on Friday full of confidence.
Both sides registered impressive wins last weekend with the Lions beating the Bulls 35-26 in Joburg and the Sharks crushing the Cheetahs 50-26 in Durban. That left the Sharks in top spot on the Currie Cup log, ahead of WP on points difference, with the third-placed Lions four points behind.
The last time these sides faced each other the Sharks won 33-25 at Kings Park, but apart from being out for revenge, Lions coach Johan Ackermann knows a victory could help clinch a home semi-final for his team.
'We know this competition isn't easy and we want to stay in the top four,' he said. 'A win on Friday could see us advance even higher on the log, but the Sharks would want to hold on to their place, so it is going to be a tough and interesting game.'
Ackermann has made two changes for this match, with Chris van Zyl starting at No 4 lock and Warren Whiteley back at No 8 having recovered from a hip injury.
Sharks forwards coach Brad Macleod-Henderson says his charges are determined to claim a home semi-final berth, but cannot afford to be distracted by their position on the table.
'We want to have a home semi and if all goes well, a home final, but we've said all along, the process and the performance is what we're really looking at,' he said. 'We played a fantastic game on Saturday [against the Cheetahs], but there are still areas we need to improve on. We'll have to play as well, if not better, this Friday against the Lions if we want to get the right result.'
The Sharks have also made two changes with U21 lock Stephan Lewies set to make his Currie Cup debut and Justin Downey coming in at openside flank.
Golden Lions – 15 Marnitz Boshoff, 14 Andries Coetzee, 13 Deon Helberg, 12 Dylan Des Fountain, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Derick Minnie (c), 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 CJ van der Linde.
Subs: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Willie Britz, 19 Warwick Tecklenberg, 20 Guy Cronjé, 21 Grant Janke, 22 Ruhan Nel.
Sharks – 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Heimar Williams, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (c), 7 Tera Mtembu, 6 Justin Downey, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Peet Marais, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Subs: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Danie Mienie, 18 Edwin Hewitt, 19 Bynard Stander, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Butch James, 22 Jaco van Tonder.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images
Western Province flank Nizaam Carr is starting to realise his true potential, writes BRENTON CHELIN.
Test Team of the Year
JON CARDINELLI picks the best 23 players of the 2014 Test season.
Rugby’s replay madness
The increasing involvement of the TV producer is beginning to have damaging consequences, writes MARK KEOHANE.