Springbok pair back for Sharks
Durban - Springbok pair Willem Alberts and Odwa Ndungane have both been declared fit and will make their first appearances for the Sharks this season in their crucial Super Rugby clash against the Lions in Durban on Saturday. Kick-off is at 17:05.
The pair, who missed the coastal side's opening losses to the Bulls and Stormers due to shoulder injuries, are among three changes made to the starting XV by coach John Plumtree.
Loose forward Alberts slots in at openside flank and has been included ahead of Jacques Botes, with Marcell Coetzee shifting to number six, while Ndungane comes in on the wing ahead of Louis Ludik.
The one other change to the side sees the return of Tim Whitehead at centre for Meyer Bosman after recovering from a groin injury.
Botes and Bosman drop to the bench with Lubabalo Mtembu and Marius Joubert falling out of the match 22.
The match is of major importance to the winless Durban franchise and the outcome, according to Plumtree, will go a long way to determining how the rest of their campaign pans out.
“We're two-zip down and looking for a win, and it's going to be hugely important for us this weekend,” Plumtree said.
“Rugby is a confidence game, so it's important for both teams to get a result.
“They will know that there is a fair bit of pressure on us, so they will expect us to be pretty desperate.”
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 JordaanLions:
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