Sharks keep rolling

2014-03-07 00:00

AS predicted by The Witness yesterday, Jake White selected an unchanged team for the third time as the Sharks prepare to take on the Lions in tomorrow night’s Super Rugby clash at King’s Park Stadium.

White, who finds himself in a fortunate position where he has a full squad four weeks into the competition, said it was rare for a coach to select the same team for three consecutive games.

The Sharks, who had a bye last weekend, should go into the game fresher than the Lions who were involved in a bruising encounter against the Bulls last week.

The players selected by White have served him well to date, claiming two wins from two outings.

“It is rare [to pick the same side] in a competition like this. It’s a war of attrition and you lose a couple of guys along the way. The fact we had a bye, it gives me the confidence to put the same side on the field,” White said at King’s Park Stadium yesterday.

White did acknowledge that with a run of four games, a bye, followed by another run of seven games, the Sharks could find themselves in a situation where they might be without certain players.

“If you make some changes, there’s going to be a bit of learning to be done by the new guys, whereas now we just keep rolling,” White continued.

During his two years at the Brumbies, they had a bye in the first couple of weeks and White said this worked to their benefit. He was confident it would be the same at the Sharks.

“There are pros and cons to having an early bye. Some guys would say you lose momentum in the competition. When I was at the Brumbies, for two years we had a bye in the second and third week, and it worked in our favour.

“The next month is hard work before we get a chance to put our feet up.”

The Lions have surprised this season, managing to beat the Cheetahs and Stormers before going down to the Bulls last week.

White admitted that he didn’t think their game against the Johannesburg franchise so early in the season would be a top-of-the-conference clash.

“Look at the Kings last year. It was their first year in the competition and they were competitive, but they struggled. They won their first game against the Force, so it shows the desire that comes in the first couple of weeks.

“It’s early days, but the Lions have surprised. They beat the Stormers convincingly and the Cheetahs away from home. They let one slip against the Bulls, but who would have thought they’d have eight points after three weeks?

“We’re cautious and aware that we’ve got to be on top of our game,” White told The Witness.

Naming their squad yesterday, the Lions brought back Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies in the number-10 jumper, while pivot in the first three games, Marnitz Boshoff, the competition’s top point scorer with 57 points, shifts to fullback.

Saturday’s game starts at 7.10 pm and is officiated by Jaco Peyper.

@KingBiyela on Twitter

Sharks: 15. SP Marais, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Frans Steyn, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Pat Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4. Anton Bresler, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1.Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Stephan Lewies, 20.Jean Deysel, 21. Charl McLeod, 22. Heimar Williams, 23. S’bura Sithole

Lions: 15. Marnitz Boshoff, 14. Ruan Combrinck, 13. Deon van Rensburg, 12. Stefan Watermeyer, 11. Chrysander Botha, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Faf de Klerk, 8. Warren Whiteley (captain), 7. Warwick Tecklenburg, 6. Jaco Kriel, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Franco Mostert, 3. Julian Redelinghuys, 2. Willie Wepener, 1. Schalk van der Merwe. Replacements: 16. Robbie Coetzee, 17. Corne Fourie, 18. Ruan Dreyer, 19. MB Lusaseni , 20. Willie Britz, 21. Ross Cronje, 22. JW Jonker, 23. Coenie van Wyk.

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