A strong Sharks side faces the Lions
The Lions continue prep for the end of July promo-relegation matches against the Spears. Last week a young and basically C WP side rolled over easily, but this Sharks side has some seasoned guys mixed with exciting youngsters.
Players to watch:
For the Golden Lions: The backline consists of a number of exciting players to keep an eye on. Ross Cronje at scrumhalf knows the Sharks players and systems well and will look to use that knowledge to the hosts’ advantage. Left wing Anthony Volmink is a try-scoring machine, outside centre Nicolaas Hanekom has all the makings of a future star and fullback Chrysander Botha is a quality player, having won 18 Test caps for Namibia to date.
For the Sharks: Look no further than the man in the No.10 jersey – Andrew James. Having spent the year as a spectator, “Butch” will finally be back in black and it will be interesting to see what he conjures up. Also back from injury is Louis Ludik, and how the regular fullback fares in the unfamiliar outside centre position will certainly be worth watching. Then there’s his young centre partner Heimar Williams, Riaan Viljoen at fullback, Charl McLeod at scrumhalf, Lubabalo Mtembu at No.8 and livewire hooker Kyle Cooper.
Head to head: The two top positional battles involve the Golden Lions’ key duo. Derick Minnie’s speed and breakdown ability will go up against the strength and ball-carrying prowess of Jean Deysel while captain JC Janse van Rensburg will have to set the tone in his battle against Wiehahn Herbst.
2012: Lions won 38-28, Johannesburg
2012: Sharks won 32-20, Durban
2011: Drew 30-30, Johannesburg
2011: Sharks won 27-3, Durban
2010: Sharks won 32-28, Johannesburg
Prediction: As the name suggests, the Lions Challenge is tailor-made for the Golden Lions. They are a settled side and the game time they got last week will give them an added edge. The makeshift Sharks side will put up a strong fight, but their rustiness will hamper them and prove decisive. Golden Lions by seven.
Golden Lions: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Nicolaas Hanekom, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Warwick Tecklenburg, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (captain).
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Gavin Annandale, 19 Lambert Groenewald, 20 Michael Bondesio, 21 Dylan des Fountain, 22 Deon van Rensburg.
Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Louis Ludik, 12 Heimar Williams, 11 Sean Robinson, 10 Andrew James, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Keegan Daniel (captain), 5 Jandre Marais, 4 Edwin Hewitt, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Brynard Stander, 19 Khaya Majola, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Fred Zeilinga, 22 Tyler Fisher.
Date: Friday, 21 June
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 19.00 (17.00 GMT)
Expected weather: A low of 5°C and a high of 26°C with a 9km/h north west wind.
Referee: Ben Crouse
Assistant referees: Tiaan Jonker, Sieg van Staden