DURBAN – Sharks coach Robert du Preez has named a slightly changed team to play the Emirates Lions in Durban on Saturday afternoon.
A few players return from injury and there are some unavailable for Saturday's match.
Most of the changes are in the pack, with Mzamo Majola coming in for Thomas du Toit at loosehead while Ruben van Heerden is back after missing the Chiefs match and partners Ruan Botha at lock. Hyron Andrews plays off the bench this week.
Daniel du Preez also returns to the starting line-up with Philip van der Walt moving back to flank and Jacques Vermeulen named amongst the replacements. Injuries to Akker van der Merwe and Craig Burden mean a possible debut for Dylan Richardson who is named as a reserve hooker.
Andre Esterhuizen is back in the final change to the starting line-up and only change to a very settled backline.
The centre Esterhuizen admits that there’s great excitement in the camp ahead of the game. “We’re back, refreshed after the bye week and ready for this match.”
“There are a lot of positives in this group, primarily that we are not going to play with a fear of losing, we want to play to win and enjoy the game.”
With four games remaining, he admits that the two home and two away games take on great importance for the team’s campaign, particularly as congested as the table is.
“Every game is vital from now on, there are just a few points that separate the teams in the South African Conference, so we know the importance of every single game.
“But we aren’t putting pressure on ourselves; we’re going out there to enjoy it and play for each other. That’s what we thrived on during the tour and it worked for us.”
The Sharks team:
15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder (c), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Mzamo Majola
Replacements: 16 Dylan Richardson, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Robert du Preez, 23 Kobus van Wyk
African News Agency (ANA)