Wentzel to lead Sharks

Marco Wentzel will lead a Sharks side featuring a number of changes for the match against the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The 35-year-old Wentzel will become the Sharks' fourth captain of the season, with Pat Lambie (injured), Bismarck du Plessis and Jean Deysel (both suspended) all ruled out of the trip to Johannesburg.

Wentzel will pack down behind a new-look front row featuring Lourens Adriaanse, Franco Marais and Dale Chadwick, while the Springbok duo of Jannie du Plessis and Beast Mtawarira are rested. Meanwhile, Renaldo Bothma replaces the suspended Deysel at blindside flank.

There are further changes among the backs, as Fred Zeilinga comes in for the injured Lambie, while a rest for SP Marais sees Odwa Ndungane shift to fullback with S'bura Sithole slotting in on the wing.

There was some positive news for director of rugby Gary Gold, as Etienne Oosthuizen and Willem Alberts have both returned from injury lay-offs and will feature from the replacements bench.

'Our performance this past weekend was unacceptable and we have taken full responsibility for the result and are determined to fix it this weekend,' said Gold. '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.'

Sharks – 15 Odwa Ndungane, 14 S'bura Sithole, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Renaldo Bothma, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Subs: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Lionel Cronjé, 23 TBA.

Super Rugby teams (Round 9)

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images