Sharks should go top

2014-03-08 00:00

WITH the Waratahs not in action this weekend, the Sharks should climb to the top of the Super Rugby table with a win over the Lions at King’s Park tonight.

The brave Lions have surprised everyone so far this season, but they have yet to face a side in such good nick as Jake White’s well-oiled Sharks.

White’s side have been seen by many as early season favourites for the Super Rugby title.

The Lions were the Sharks’ last warm-up game before the season started, and that game ended 57-14 in favour of Jake White’s men. But the King’s Park faithful should not expect such a toothless performance from Johan Ackermann’s team this time around.

When they met exactly a month ago to the day, Ackermann’s side was missing a few players as he looked to rest his stalwarts, and avoid further injuries.

They face each other tonight with the Lions coming off two impressive wins against the Cheetahs and Stormers, and a fighting defeat against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld last weekend.

But, despite the Lions’ good start to the season, the Sharks, currently the best team in the land, and should have enough in the engine room to see off the men from Johannesburg.

White wasn’t surprised that the Lions chose to go with Elton Jantjies in the number 10 jumper instead of the regular pivot this season, Marnitz Boshoff, who shifts to fullback.

“He’s a Springbok. I didn’t know they were going to do that, but I had a funny feeling that they were going to find it very difficult not to pick a Springbok in the starting line-up if he’s fit and available. I suppose in a lot of ways he’s a left-footed flyhalf and they have a right-footed fullback now,” White told reporters during the week.

“Nothing really changes because they had [Chrysander] Botha at fullback who is a left footer and they had Boshoff at 10. As much as they have just changed the deckchairs, I’m sure the gameplan will stay almost the same,” said White.

White felt the Lions, who were desperate and had a point to prove, would offer something completely different than the Bulls and the Hurricanes.

Skipper Bismarck du Plessis felt the Lions had been scrumming quite well throughout the season so far, and were playing with a lot of “gees”.

“They’re also playing with a lot of width. But, we’re not focusing on them, we’re only focusing on what we can do and we’ve got to take those small steps every week,” Du Plessis said.

The Sharks are the favourites to bag the points in tonight’s game. But the Lions, who are back from the wilderness, have shown they won’t roll over easily.

Tonight’s game kicks off at 7.10 pm. Jaco Peyper will be the referee and will be assisted by Rasta Rasichenge and Cobus Wessels. Deon van Blommestein will be the TMO.


@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 “Beast” Mtawarira

Substitutes: 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

Substitutes: 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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