Durban - Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold has made changes to hid side to take on the Golden Lions in a Currie Cup clash at Kings Park on Saturday.
Unbeaten, with maximum log points and riding a wave of confidence and continuity, the Lions make a strong argument as possibly title contenders, something not lost on Gold who warns that his charges will have it tough this weekend.
Paul Jordaan and Andre Esterhuizen form a youthful, but exciting new centre partnership for this week’s match, while S’bura Sithole is welcomed back into the fray, slotting in on the wing.
The hugely experienced scrumhalf, Michael Claassens, get his first start of the campaign, as does Francois Kleinhans who comes in for the injured Jean Deysel at flank.
Up front, prop Dale Chadwick returns from injury, replacing Juan Schoeman in the final change with Lourens Adriaanse, Khaya Majola and Kyle Cooper not considered due to injury.
“Attacking rugby is the Lions’ DNA and we have to improve our defence,” Gold told Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick.
“The talk this week has been about an immense improvement for this weekend against the Lions and we know we are going to have to pitch up physically against the Lions.
“The Lions at Kings Park is a really good opportunity for us to step up to the plate.
“A really good performance and hopefully a victory out of that would definitely give us a lot of confidence going forward. It will give us some confidence to know we can compete with what I believe are the bookies’ favourites in this competition - and quite rightly should be. They had a fantastic Super Rugby competition, they’re a very settled squad and they’re playing great rugby.”
Kick-off for Saturday’s clash at Kings Park is scheduled for 17:05.
15. Joe Pietersen, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. S'bura Sithole, 10. Lionel Cronje, 9. Michael Claassens, 8. Philip van der Walt, 7. Daniel du Preez, 6. Francois Kleinhans, 5. Marco Wentzel (captain), 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Thomas du Toit, 2. Monde Hadebe, 1. Dale Chadwick
Substitutes: 16. Franco Marais, 17. Gerhard Engelbrecht, 18. Dave McDuling, 19. Jean-Luc du Preez, 20. Stefan Ungerer, 21. Wandile Mjekevu, 22. SP Marais
15. Jaco van der Walt, 14. Ruan Combrinck, 13. Stokkies
Hanekom, 12. Howard Mnisi, 11. Courtnall Skosan, 10. Marnitz Boshoff, 9. Ross Cronje, 8. Ruaan Lerm, 7. Kwagga Smith, 6. Jaco Kriel (captain), 5. Franco Mostert, 4. MB Lusaseni , 3. Julian Redelinghuys, 2. Robbie Coetzee, 1. Ruan Dreyer
Substitutes: 16. Malcolm Marx, 17. Jacques van Rooyen, 18.
Martin Muller, 19. Stephan de Wit, 20. Ricky Schroeder, 21. Alwyn Hollenbach, 22.