Durban – Under-21 lock Stephan Lewies will make his debut for the Sharks in one of two changes made to the starting XV for their Currie Cup clash against the Golden Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Springbok call-ups for Pieter-Steph du Toit and Marcell Coetzee provided opportunities for Lewies and Justin Downey at flank.
“Stephan has been doing very well,” coach Brad Macleod-Henderson said on Wednesday.
“He’s a nice tall young man who has played well for the under-21s, both this year and last, and he has been one of the stars in 2013, so it’s fantastic for him to get the opportunity and show what he can do.
“He’s more an out and out number five lock. He’s quite athletic, has a nice frame on him so it will be great to see how he goes.”
Both Coetzee and Du Toit played key roles when the coastal side thumped the Cheetahs 50-26 in their last game to move top of the table.
The Lions are currently third on the log, but a bonus point win at Ellis Park, coupled by the Sharks and second-placed Western Province picking a maximum of one point, could see them jump to the summit.
“The Lions are a dangerous side, and we found that out here when they scored a couple of quick tries against us,” backline coach Sean Everitt said.
“They play an exciting brand of rugby, and they are giving the ball a lot of air. So we'll really have to be on our toes defensively, and play for the full 80 minutes to keep them out.”
The Sharks team is: SP Marais, Odwa Ndungane, Tim Whitehead, Heimar Williams, Lwazi Mvovo, Fred Zeilinga, Charl McLeod, Keegan Daniel (captain), Tera Mtembu, Justin Downey, Stephan Lewies, Peet Marais, Wiehahn Herbst, Kyle Cooper, Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: Monde Hadebe, Danie Mienie, Edwin Hewitt, Bynard Stander, Cobus Reinach, Butch James, Jaco van Tonder. – Sapa