Lions look to Ellis Park faithful against Sharks
Johannesburg - Lions skipper warren Whiteley says he can't help but excited ahead of big South African derbies, and they don't get too much bigger than Saturday's Super Rugby clash against the Sharks in Johannesburg.
The sides are rivals once again this year and fighting it out for top spot in their Africa 2 conference and a home quarter-final. Both have won four of their five fixtures so far this season, making Saturday's clash all the more significant with the winner pulling ahead in the race.
Whiteley, a Durbanite himself, is expecting a bumper crowd at Ellis Park.
"There's a lot of excitement around a local derby like this and playing against a quality Sharks outfit ... it definitely does bring that excitement within you," he said.
"We all know what a privilege it is playing at Ellis Park and to get 30-odd thousand, and hopefully close to 40 000, that would be incredible.
"It definitely lifts the players and we appreciate it. We've seen it this year. The number of people that come to the stadiums and have been there. To have 20-odd thousand people at a Reds game ... that's almost unheard of."
But, Whiteley knows that the Sharks will have their fair share of support in the stadium too.
"There are a hell of a lot of Durbanites in Johannesburg," he said.
"You'll see plenty Sharks supporters and we'll probably outnumber them, but there will be a hell of a lot of people supporting the Sharks.
"They've done well this year, we must give them credit. And that always brings people to the stadium and makes for an exciting match-up."
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:15.
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Harold Vorster, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen
Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Jacques Nel, 23 Dillon Smit
15 Garth April, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Tera Mtembu (captain), 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Thomas du Toit
Substitutes: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Inny Radebe, 23 Jeremy Ward