The Sharks have made two changes to their team from last week to face the Lions in Friday evening’s Super Rugby derby in Johannesburg.
The 23-year-old Kerron van Vuuren will start as hooker, in the place of Akker van der Merwe, who’s been suspended for three weeks, while Curwin Bosch will start as fullback, replacing Aphelele Fassi who moves to the bench.
The loss of Van der Merwe, doping allegations against Chiliboy Ralepelle and an injury to Craig Burden have put the Sharks under pressure in the hooker department.
While van Vuuren will start, Fez Mbatha comes on to the bench as cover at hooker.
“(It’s ) always tough to lose a hooker of the calibre of Akker and obviously, we’ve lost Craig, but we’re good for now. These guys have to step up. It’s a huge opportunity for both of them,” says Robert Du Prezz who is the sharks head Coach.
Du Preez is confident despite the team’s narrow defeat to the Bulls in Durban in a game in which the Durban-side dominated in all facets.
“But we’re very positive although we won everything except the match on Saturday. I thought there were some fantastic positives that we took out of the game and we’ll take that type of momentum into this game on Friday night,” says Du Prezz.
Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira will make history, when he becomes the most-capped South African rugby player in the competition, when he takes to the field in his 157th appearance, overtaking former record-holder Adriaan Strauss.
While the Sharks can expect a more open and flowing game, they can rely on their strong defence to stop the Lions in their tracks.
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