The Sharks, despite their bye last week, remained the conference pace-setters courtesy of the Bulls’ win over the Lions. The men from Durban have looked the most settled and organised unit in the competition, which may have something to di with the arrival of Jake White as a Director of Coaching, They even managed to score a four-try bonus point against the Bulls in the humidity last month.
However, the Lions feel they also have the game to cope with the additional moist that will be around. “We were [tactically] very good against the Stormers, which shows that we can do it [play a tactical game],” Lions coach Johan Ackermann told this website. “Our attitude last week was perhaps not attuned to it [wet conditions],” he said of the Lions’ loss to the Bulls.
“This week we know that we are playing in a city with high humidity and testing conditions. “We must have the ability to play both [types of games] – we must run when it is on and we must be tactically better when it is required of us.”
The Lions received high praise from the Sharks’ 2007 World Cup winner Frans Steyn. “The Lions have been playing really well and I’m happy for them,” the Springbok centre said. “They’ve been through a tough time last year when they weren’t playing, but we’re looking forward to playing them.” However, it is the influence of White that keeps pooping up.
“Everybody knows what a good coach Jake is, he has a proven record with the South African Under-21 team, the Springboks and Brumbies,” Steyn said. “He’s been doing well and we’ve won our first two games with him, we’re all looking forward to the season ahead.”
2012: Lions won 38-28, Johannesburg
2012: Sharks won 32-20, Durban
2011: Sharks and Lions drew 30-30, Johannesburg
2011: Sharks won 27-3, Durban
2010: Sharks won 32-28, Johannesburg
2009: Sharks won 25-10, Durban
Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Heimar Williams, 23 S’bura Sithole.
Lions: 15 Marnitz Boshoff, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Deon van Rensburg, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Chrysander Botha, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Franco Mostert, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 MB Lusaseni, 20 Willie Britz, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Jacobus Jonker, 23 Coenie van Wyk.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry (South Africa), Cobus Wessels (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)