Sharks v British & Irish Lions - Teams and Predictions
THE REMATCH: The Sharks will be seeking redemption when they come up against the British and Irish Lions for the second time in three days.
They have made 11 changes to the run-on team that lost 7-54 to the B&I Lions on Wednesday.
The B&I Lions were scheduled to play the Bulls this weekend in the third of eight tour matches, but a Covid-19 outbreak forced the Pretoria team to withdraw. On Thursday, SA Rugby and the B&I Lions agreed to replace the Bulls with the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
For Sharks head coach Sean Everitt, it is a chance to right the wrongs in what will be another tough encounter,
“It’s an opportunity for us to learn from the mistakes we made on Wednesday,” Everitt told reporters during an online media conference on Friday.
“When we did the review and we looked at the opportunities that we created and the soft moments where we conceded points, we know that we can be better than that.
“We had 57 percent possession in the game and 53 percent territory and we only gave away eight penalties, so there are positives to take out of that game.
“We would like to redeem ourselves and rectify the mistakes that we did make.
Everitt added: “We always got to be positive. When you take 54-7 you think it’s all doom and gloom, but we did put them under a lot of pressure.
“After the game, I chatted to some of the [B&I Lions] players and we put them through their paces and their bodies were sore and Warren Gatland mentioned that in the presser.
“It’s great to have a second chance. What we need to do is just tidy up the way we go about it.
“We are hoping for some redemption and we are going out there to put on a better display.”
Meanwhile, British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland had plenty of praise for his players after there was some disruption caused by Covid-19 this week.
Hooker Jamie George will lead a team featuring 13 changes from the one that faced the Sharks earlier this week.
“It’s obviously been a slightly turbulent week, but we remain determined to keep rolling with the punches,” said Gatland.
“In many ways, the challenges we’ve faced this week have strengthened our resolve to do everything we can to overcome the challenges created by Covid.
“The feeling in the camp on Wednesday night was just to give it a crack – I was really proud by how everyone reacted, particularly the matchday squad who would have never prepared for a game like that before.
“Saturday is another opportunity to see how the boys go and for us as coaches to try out a few more combinations ahead of the Test series.
“I have long been an admirer of Jamie’s leadership skills, so I am delighted to name him skipper.
“We want to pass on thanks to the Sharks boys for fronting up and going again on Saturday. The spirit of rugby and a great chance for them to have another shot at us.”
Players to watch
For Sharks: Lionel Cronje, 32, gets the No.10 jersey for this match and he brings a lot of experience. Werner Kok moves from the wing to the midfield for this match and he has plenty of speed and power to trouble the B&I Lions’ defenders. In the pack, captain and No.8 Phepsi Buthelezi impressed with his carries in the defeat on Wednesday and will be wanting to put in another big shift on Saturday. Lock Le Roux Roets is a big presence in that second row and he will have a big role in the physical exchanges.
For B&I Lions: Wing Duhan van der Merwe is a powerful ball runner and one of the top finishers in the game at the moment. He scored three tries in Wednesday’s win over the Sharks. Liam Williams at fullback will give the Sharks plenty of problems when he runs at them. The back row selection of Tadhg Beirne, Hamish Watson and Jack Conan is a mouth-watering one. They are all dynamic players in a powerful pack.
Head to head
After Wednesday’s result, there will be very few Sharks fans giving their team a chance against the tourists. Teams from Durban have never beaten the B&I Lions. The closest they ever came was when Natal drew 3-all with the Lions in Pietermaritzburg in 1924.
2021: B&I Lions won 54-7 (in Johannesburg)
2009: B&I Lions won 39-3
1997: B&I Lions won 42-12
1980: B&I Lions won 21-15
1974: B&I Lions won 34-6
1968: B&I Lions won 17-5
1962: B&I Lions won 13-3
1938: B&I Lions won 15-11
1924: Natal and the B&I Lions drew 3-all
1910: B&I Lions won 19-13
@rugby365com: B&I Lions by 30 points.
Sharks: 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Marnus Potgieter, 13 Werner Kok, 12 Murray Koster, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi (captain), 7 Mpilo Gumede, 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu.
Replacements – from: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 MJ Majola, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Jeandre Labuschagne, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Boeta Chamberlain, 23 Jeremy Ward, 24 Lourens Adriaanse, 25 Rynhardt Jonker, 26 Curwin Bosch.
British and Irish Lions: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Chris Harris, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Tadhg Beirne, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Jamie George (captain), 1 Rory Sutherland.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Tom Curry, 22 Conor Murray, 23 Finn Russell.
Date: Saturday, July 10
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 18.00 (17.00 BST; 16.00 GMT)
Expected weather: Clear skies with a high of 21°C and a low of 6°C. There will be a slight breeze.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper, AJ Jacobs
TMO: Stuart Berry