Lions to stick with tried and tested to face the Sharks
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JOHANNESBURG - Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen will once again rely on consistency in his selection as his team takes on the Sharks at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday (kick off 7pm).
In doing so, the Xerox Lions coach has placed his trust in the team that soundly defeated the Free State Cheetahs last weekend. As such Jannie du Plessis, who ended a scintillating attacking play by scoring a try, and scrumhalf Andre Warner, who looked mightily impressive in his first competitive outing for that match, return to take on a buoyant Sharks team fresh off of a victory of their own against the Blue Bulls.
There are a handful of concerns though. Man of the Match of the Cheetahs game, Vincent Tshituka, and powerhouse prop Sti Sithole are both under an injury cloud, and will both have to undergo late fitness tests to assess their matchday readiness. If they are unable to participate in the encounter, Van Rooyen is blessed enough in squad depth to call upon Wilhelm van der Sluys and Dylan Smith.
After a slight niggle to his calf, Burger Odendaal returns to the matchday squad as cover on the bench, while Springbok Jamba Ulengo will also make a welcomed appearance and will warm -up on the sidelines until needed. There were no other changes to the team as the Lions build up a head of steam in the Carling Currie Cup after two solid victories in as many matches.
The Joburgers currently occupy fourth spot in the standings and a victory over the Sharks this weekend could possibly propel them into second and a chance to grab an all-important semi-final home berth.
No thunder, nor lightning is expected in the evening, so a full 80 minutes is on the cards if the fickle Highveld weather decides to accommodate the match until its completion.
Lions Starting XV:
Tiaan Swanepoel; Stean Pienaar, Wandisile Simelane, Dan Kriel, Courtnall Skosan; Elton Jantjies (captain), André Warner; Len Massyn, Vincent Tshituka/Wilhelm van der Sluys, Jaco Kriel, Marvin Orie, Willem Alberts, Jannie du Plessis, Jaco Visagie, Sti Sithole/Dylan Smith.
Jan-Henning Campher, Ruan Dreyer, Wiehahn Herbst, Reinhard Nothnagel, Roelof Smit, Morné van den Berg, Burger Odendaal, Jamba Ulengo, Carlu Sadie, Manuel Rass