Cape Town - The Golden Lions and Sharks will enter their Currie Cup clash in Johannesburg on Friday with the mindset that a victory is non-negotiable.
A victory for the hosts and defending champions could earn them their sixth semi-final in a row and allow them to maintain their unbeaten run at home this season.
But they will face a determined Sharks outfit, who can still secure a home semi-final if they win with a bonus point, but they could also drop out of the competition if they suffer a defeat without a bonus point or two.
The Lions defeated the Sharks 53-16 in the Currie Cup Qualifiers and they have won three of their last four matches at home against the Durbanites - two of these victories, however, were by eight points or less. Both teams come off convincing victories against the EP Kings, but the home team will have the luxury of momentum after playing last weekend, while the Sharks had a bye.
Ruan Dreyer will start for the Lions. Dreyer replaces Julian Redelinghuys who has joined the Springboks. In another change to the front row Robbie Coetzee will start in the hooker berth with Malcolm Marx warming the bench.
And as part of the teams’ rotation system Ross Cronje and Andries Coetzee start at nine and fifteen respectively.
Sharks coach Robert du Preez has named a strong team to face the Lions as the visitors look to secure a home semi-final if they manage to win with a bonus point.
Stephan Lewies will undergo a late fitness test to determine his availability. Philip van der Walt has not recovered sufficiently from concussion and therefore has not been considered for selection.
"We approaching this match as a quarter-final and we want to win. It’s going to come down to discipline and taking opportunities," Du Preez said.
"We are under no illusions about the enormity of the task and respect our opposition, however our focus is on sticking to our structures and game-plan."
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Koch Marx, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Kwagga Smith (captain), 5 Bobby de Wee, 4 JP du Preez, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Dylan Smith
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Fabian Booysen, 19 Cyle Brink, 20 Dillon Smit, 21 Howard Mnisi, 22 Sylvian Mahuza
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Rhyno Smith, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Inny Radebe, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Thomas du Toit
Substitutes: 16 Franco Marais, 17 John-Hubert Meyer, 18 Stephan Lewies/Jean Droste, 19 Khaya Majola, 20 Stefan Ungerer, 21 Garth April, 22 Wandile Mjekevu
Date: Friday, September 30
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant Referees: Ben Crouse, Stephan Geldenhuys
TMO: Willie Vos