Odwa joins elite group

2014-04-11 00:00

THE same starting 15 that took on the Waratahs at King’s Park two weeks ago will run onto the field when the Sharks take on the mighty Lions in Johannesburg tomorrow.

The game will be a special one for winger Odwa Ndungane, who will play in his 100th Super Rugby game for the Sharks.

Ndungane will join his twin brother, Bulls winger Akona, who joined the exclusive 100 club earlier in the season.

Speaking earlier this week, Ndungane said he never thought he would reach the milestone, feeling he struggled a lot when he first joined the Sharks.

“If you recall, I struggled to get going when I got here, so to be playing my 100th game for the Sharks this weekend is very special to me,” he said earlier in the week.

Yesterday’s squad announcement saw S’bura Sithole keep his place in the starting 15 with the fit-again Paul Jordaan taking Heimar Williams’s place on the bench in the only change made by White to his match 23.

“I’m very happy with S’bura. I think he’s proved himself. He’s played against the Reds who have supposedly a great backline and the Waratahs who have a good backline. And he’s held his own against teams that attack probably better than most teams,” White said yesterday.

“Paul coming in knows that there’s competition for places, and the one thing about coaching and team dynamic is that if you have competition for places, you get a healthy team. Everyone would have assumed that Paul would have walked straight into the team, but the nice thing about is guys are putting their hands up and they’re playing well,” White said.

Speaking about the upcoming game this weekend, White didn’t read too much in the Lions’ defeat to the Crusaders last week, and still expects them to give them a hard challenge when they meet at Ellis Park tomorrow evening.

The Lions started the season well while the seven-time champions Crusaders were a bit slow out of the blocks, and there have been suggestions that the Johannesburg side’s bubble has burst.

But according to White, the side from Christchurch always hit their straps late on in the competition, and the Lions should be written off for being beaten by the most successful side in the history of Super Rugby.

“This is when the Crusaders generally get their straps. People said, ‘Oh, the Crusaders beat the Lions’. The Lions are obviously disappointed with that result, but you’ve got to be fair because they lost to the Crusaders who have won the competition seven times,” White said at King’s Park yesterday morning.

“Generally, the Crusaders get better as the tournament goes on so it was always going to be a difficult game for them so I don’t think we need to read too much into it that the Lions stumbled at that hurdle,” said White.

Tomorrow evening’s game will kick off at 7.10 pm and will be officiated by Craig Joubert.


Lions: 15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Deon van Rensburg, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Stefan Watermeyer, 11. Courtnall Skosan, 10. Marnitz Boshoff, 9. Faf de Klerk, 8. Warren Whiteley (captain), 7. Willie Britz, 6. Derick Minnie, 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Martin Muller, 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. Jaco Kriel, 21. Ross Cronje, 22. Elton Jantjies, 23. Alwyn Hollenbach

Sharks: 15. Lwazi Mvovo, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. S’bura Sithole, 12. Frans Steyn, 11. JP Pietersen, 10. Fred Zeilinga, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Stephan Lewies, 4. Willem Alberts, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Etienne Oosthuizen, 20. Keegan Daniel, 21. Stefan Ungerer, 22. Paul Jordaan, 23. SP Marais.

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