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IN-FORM conference leaders Sharks will step onto Ellis Park turf today as clear favourites when they face a Lions side that produced one of their worst rugby performances against Crusaders last week. The South African “predators derby” has already set the tone for a gruelling battle as both coaches preyed on each other’s weaknesses in the build-up to the round 9 encounter.

Johan Ackermann’s men, who believe in playing tight rugby, will have to rely on the successful kicking record of Marnitz Boshoff to push the Durban side to the edge.

“We want to play aenturous rugby but last week we got it all wrong, too many kicking mistakes, we have to be in better positions to execute chances,” said Ackermann referring to Boshoff’s miskicks that cost them points last week.

His opposite, Jake White, a Jo’burger himself, hinted to exploit on such flaws that may take place within the Lions backline to inflict pain into the lions’ line of defence.

Sharks houses speedy merchants in centre JP Petersen and wings Lwazi Mvovo and Odwa Dungane, who is set to clock a century Super Rugby games appearance at the game, can unleash points at will if the hosts repeat their last week mistakes.

Dungane is due to be centre of attention and if he strikes, then his mission will be accomplished after an injury tainted breakthrough.

“Boshoff needs to kick well because they might be consequences with Odwa and Lwazi on the loose ends.

“This game is more like, we are playing at home as most of my players are originally from here (Johannesburg), we know the importance of winning derbies as much as home games,” White said.

The Lions made one change with the return of flank Derrick Minnie who replaced Jaco Kriel as Ackermann maintains the balance within the team that collected maximum points at home past Stormers, Reds and Blues before losing 28-7 to Crusaders.

Sharks won the first encounter 37-22 in KwaZulu Natal.


Lions: Andries Coetzee, Deon Van Rensburg, Lionel Mapoe, Stefan Watermeyer, Courtnall Skosan, Marnits Boshoff, Faf De Klerk, Warren Whiteley(cpt), Willie Britz, Derick Minnie, Franco Mostert, Martin Muller, Julian Redelinghuys, Willie Wepener, Shalk Van Der Merwe.

Sharks: Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, S’bura Sithole, Frans Steyn, JP Petersen, Ferd Zeilinga, Charl Mcleod, Ryan Kankowski, Jean Deysel, Marcell Coetzee, Stephan Lewies, Willem Alberts, Jannie du Plessis, Bismark du Plessis(cpt), Tendai Mutawarira.

Source : The Herald