Sharks ring in changes for second clash against British and Irish Lions
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DURBAN - There are vast changes to the Sharks team for Take-Two with the British and Irish Lions, this time at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday at 6pm.
Most of the changes — and there are seven of them in the pack alone — are because of the short turnaround time from the Wednesday game. Theoretically, this new team should be weaker than the one that got pumped 54-7 but maybe this new line-up can show they should have been in the team in the first place.
For instance, the new front row, of Ntuthuko Mchunu, Kerron van Vuuren and Wiehahn Herbst might be a better bet, and it is good to see Dylan Richardson on the flank as he completes his comeback from injury after a few matches off the bench.
The big change is at flyhalf where the much-traveled Lionel Cronje is at 10. The 32-year-old is back at the Sharks — he had a season in Durban in 2015 — after having played for virtually every team in South Africa, and if he seems to have reappeared after a long time off the radar, it is because he has been in Japan for the last four years.
Cronje last played in South Africa in 2017 when he was in charge of a Southern Kings backline that scored some excellent tries.
If the Sharks are going to be any better, coach Sean Everitt said they had to show better “respect for the ball”.
“We do create opportunities, but we need to show patience, we can’t force the passes or put kicks through, we need to hold on to the ball for an extra phase because somewhere along the line, the wall can break. We didn’t show enough patience with the ball on attack against the Lions [on Wednesday] and we need to back ourselves to hold it through several phases, even more.
“When we get that right we’ll be a really good, dangerous side and a difficult one to beat.”
Everitt admitted that it wasn’t so much a fault of ability but rather the choices made.
“Sometimes it’s the make-up of the individuals and the enthusiasm and energy we have in the team, we tend to force things and hope that something happens from that. What you might get away with at Currie Cup level won’t work against internationals.
“It’s really about getting the balance right: when to have a go and when not to; when to force it and when not to. Against a quality team like the Lions, you have to be patient.”
Sharks: 15 Antthony Volmink 14 Marnus Potgieter 13 Werner Kok 12 Murray Koster 11 Thaakir Abrahams 10 Lionel Cronje 9 Jaden Hendrikse 8 Phepsi Buthelezi (capt) 7 Mpilo Gumede 6 Dylan Richardson 5 Reniel Hugo 4 Leroux Roets 3 Wiehahn Herbst 2 Kerron van Vuuren 1 Nuthuko Mchuu.
Subs: Dan Jooste, Mzamo Majola,Kuthua Mchunu, Thembelani Bholi, Jeandre Labuschagne, Cameron Wright, Boeta Chamberlain, Jeremy Ward