Lions not thinking of CC final
Cape Town - In some quarters it’s billed as a rematch of the Currie Cup final of 2011, but the landscape will be quite different when the Sharks host the Lions in the third round of the Super Rugby competition in Durban on Saturday.
Lions coach John Mitchell doesn’t think last year’s Currie Cup final (when the Lions won 42-16 in Johannesburg) will have any bearing on what happens this weekend. While the Lions have won one and lost one in 2012, the Sharks are still winless and will be hard-pressed to turn their fortunes around at Kings Park.
“Both teams have changed a lot since the Currie Cup. We’re certainly not banking on the team coherency that we had back then, because we’ve got a lot of players out, so we are integrating a lot of new players,” said Mitchell.
“To think that we are at full strength or have the same team from last year’s Currie Cup final is a misnomer. And it’s the same with the Sharks actually - they are probably also not at full strength or with the same team of last year.”
While the Sharks have been lifted with the inclusion of fit-again Springbok loose forward Willem Alberts, they still realise it won’t be an easy outing against the Lions - a team they have never lost to in Super Rugby. In the seven outings between these sides (since 2006, when the former Cats franchise was disbanded), the best performance from the men from Johannesburg, was a 30-30 draw last year.
“This is a massive game for us, the next two home games are,” said Sharks coach John Plumtree.
“If you want to do well in this competition, you have to do well at home. We’ve picked up two log points away from home and those could prove to be valuable at the end of the day. But winning at home is vital in this competition.
“We’ll back ourselves to win away from home as well - we haven’t talked about getting bonus points away from home - but we know this game is hugely important for us.”
15. Riaan Viljoen, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. JP Pietersen, 12. Tim Whitehead, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Frederic Michalak, 8. Keegan Daniel (captain), 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Ross Skeate, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Dale Chadwick
Substitutes: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Jannie du Plessis, 18. Anton Bresler, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Meyer Bosman, 22. Paul Jordaan
15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Doppies La Grange, 12 Butch James, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Joshua Strauss (captain), 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Marius Coetzer, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Patric Cilliers
Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Stephan Greef, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Alwyn Hollenbach, 22 James Kamana