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    Du Preez 'not interested' in Sharks 'sideshows'

    2019-04-04 14:37

    Cape Town - Sharks coach Robert du Preez says he is not paying any attention to the off-field issues that have accompanied the franchise this week. 

    The biggest talking point to emerge from last weekend's round of Super Rugby fixtures was undoubtedly the Akker van der Merwe v Schalk Brits punch-up that saw both players red-carded and then suspended. 

    Van der Merwe, the instigator, was suspended for three matches while Brits copped a four-match ban because of previous infringements during his time in the northern hemisphere. 

    The punishment from SANZAAR caused a wave of confusion, with supporters astounded at the fact that Brits had received a heavier punishment than Van der Merwe. 

    To make matters worse for the Sharks, Chiliboy Ralepelle's B-sample has been returned and on Wednesday it was confirmed that the banned substance Zenarol had been found in his system. 

    That, combined with the fact that Craig Burden is out injured, leaves the Sharks facing somewhat of a crisis at hooker going into Friday night's clash against the Lions at Ellis Park. 

    The little-known Kerron van Vuuren will now start in the No 2 jersey while the even lesser known Fez Mbatha will come off the bench.

    "We do have some good depth with the youngsters in the system. Kerron has done some great work for us towards the end of last year and in pre-season," Du Preez explained on Wednesday.

    "A young guy like Fez has always been great.

    "It's always tough to lose a hooker of the caliber of Akker and we've obviously lost Craig, but we are good for now. These guys have to step up and it's a huge opportunity for both of them."

    The other distraction came in the form of a media report over the weekend suggesting that utility back Curwin Bosch was in talks with the Stormers over a possible move to Newlands next year. 

    Bosch, who will start in the No 15 jersey against the Lions, has found himself on the bench more often than not in 2019 with Robert du Preez Jnr being backed at flyhalf throughout the campaign. 

    "He's due for a start. In the beginning of the year he unfortunately had a couple of niggles, coach Du Preez said of Bosch.

    "He never got going early on, but I think he has done really well when he came onto the field so this is a nice start for him."

    Responding to the Bosch/Stormers rumours, Du Preez was quick to keep the focus on the Lions. 

    "It doesn't interest me at all," he said.

    "I've got a job to do and my job is to make this team win. That's what we're concentrating on for this weekend. I can't be bothered about sideshows."

    Kick-off on Friday night is at 19:10.

    Teams:

    Lions

    15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Tyrone Green, 13 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 12 Lionel Mapoe, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Ruan Vermaak, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Rhyno Herbst, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Malcolm Marx (captain), 1 Sti Sithole

    Substitutes: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Stephan Lewies, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Hacjivah Dayimani, 23 Sylvian Mahuza/Wandisile Simelane

    Sharks

    15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Lwazi Mvovo, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Luke Stringer, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

    Substitutes: 16 Fez Mbatha, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Philip van der Walt, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Kobus van Wyk, 23 Aphelele Fassi

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    Friday, 19 April 2019
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