The Sharks will be without the services of Akker van der Merwe and Tendai Mtawarira for the clash against the Lions in Durban on Saturday.
The Sharks have enjoyed a week’s break following their second and final bye, but will turn their attention to the final stages of the regular season, looking to secure a place in the knockouts.
They will, however, be without the services of a few players whose minor niggles will keep them out of action for the next week or two.
Team doctor Gerhard Coetzer has confirmed that front rowers Van der Merwe (shoulder injury), Mtawarira (MCL injury – left knee) and Craig Burden (left bicep tear), as well as wing Lwazi Mvovo (ankle sprain) will return to play in approximately two weeks, while prop Thomas du Toit (also ankle sprain) is doubtful for this match.
It would mean that Kerron van Vuuren would likely keep his place as the starting hooker, while there could be a start for 24-year-old loosehead Mzamo Majola, should Du Toit not prove his fitness in time.
Sharks assistant coach Ricardo Loubscher admitted that this weekend’s clash could be an open one, with both teams taking a ball-in-hand approach.
‘We know it’s going to be tough against a quality side that loves playing attacking rugby,’ Loubscher said.
‘We expect a physical match, South African derbies always are, but the players are in a good space and took some nice momentum from the tour. We’ll be looking to take that momentum into the next four games.
‘We expect them to come to Durban with that same attacking DNA,’ Loubscher added. ‘Both teams love to play ball-in-hand rugby and it’s about who is clinical on the day, who takes their opportunities. But it’s going to take an 80-minute effort from us.’
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