Everitt’s Sharks get Boks boost

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Head Coach of the Cell C Sharks Sean Everitt.
Head Coach of the Cell C Sharks Sean Everitt.
Steve Haag

The Sharks have proven to be a very powerful team with their Springboks stars at their disposal. However, coach Sean Everitt is definitely not expecting an easy game against the “dangerous” Lions in their United Rugby Championship (URC) clash on Saturday.

The Lions will host the Durban-based franchise at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg Saturday at 3 pm, as South African sides resume their URC campaign.

The local teams, including the Bulls and Stormers, haven’t played URC since early December as Covid-19 threw their fixture schedule into disarray.

In their last outing, Everitt welcomed back a host of his Boks that helped the Sharks beat the Bulls 30-16 in Durban, while the Lions ended the year with a strong 37-19 victory over the Stormers.

Both the Sharks and the Lions have been the best South African teams in the URC, with two wins each.

The Lions are leading the SA Shield with 11 points, while Everitt’s men are second with nine points.

Everitt said:

“The team that they’ve selected is very similar to [the one] played against the Stormers in Cape Town and we know that they did really well. They put the Stormers to the sword on their (Stormers) home turf, so we will be playing against a team that’s confident.”

“The Lions are a team on the up, I think they performed admirably overseas where we all struggled.

“They struggled too, but you know they were able to get a win over Zebre and they ran a couple of teams really close when they were over there.

“Obviously, they came home and finished off December on a high. They are a very dangerous team, and we know that they will be hyped up and ready for us at Ellis Park on Saturday afternoon.

“We are under no false illusion of what they can bring to the table,” he said.

While Everitt has most of his Boks stars available, he is missing Siya Kolisi and Bongi Mbonambi.

The Sharks’ plan to tame the Lions will rely on their not giving players such as Wandisile Simile and Burger Odendaal a lot of room to manoeuvre.

“The way that they ran in tries against the Stormers makes them a really dangerous team. They’ve got pace on the wings, they’ve got Wandi and Burger Odendaal probably playing their best rugby that they’ve played for some time now,” said Everitt.

“The clash in Egoli will see Australian centre Ben Tapuai making his Sharks debut.

TEAMS

Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (capt), 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Grant Williams, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Jeandre Labuschagne, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, Ox Nche.

Substitutes: 16 Fez Mbatha, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Jaden Hendrikse, 22 Tito Bonilla, 23 Jeremy Ward.

Lions: 15 EW Viljoen, 14, Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Burger Odendaal (capt), 11 Sibahle ‘Rabz’ Maxwane, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Ruhan Straeuli, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sti Sithole.

Substitutes: 16 PJ Botha, 17 Morgan Naude, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Emmanuel Tshituka, 21 Morné van den Berg, 22 Matt More, 23, Tiaan Swanepoel.

Saturday’s URC Fixtures

Lions v Sharks — 3 pm

Bulls v Stormers — 5.05 pm

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