Sharks face front row crisis
INJURY UPDATE: The Sharks have suffered a massive setback in the build-up to their crucial all-South African derby encounter with the Lions.
The Sharks will host the Lions at Kings Park in Durban this Saturday, as the competition heads into the final stretch – with just four rounds of league action remaining.
Sharks team doctor Gerhard Coetzer confirmed that front row forwards Armand van der Merwe (shoulder injury) and Tendai Mtawarira (MCL injury – left knee) will not be available this week.
Fellow Springbok, prop Thomas du Toit, is doubtful for this match with an ankle sprain.
Meanwhile, Craig Burden (left bicep tear) and wing Lwazi Mvovo (ankle sprain) will also only return to action in approximately two weeks.
The Sharks smashed the Lions 42-5 in their previous encounter at Ellis Park last month.
However, they are expecting a far tougher challenge in the return fixture – which could go a long way towards establishing their final finishing position in the conference.
The Lions are currently third in the conference (sixth overall) with 30 points from their 12 matches, while the Sharks are fourth in the conference (seventh overall) with 29 points.
Sharks assistant coach Ricardo Loubscher admitted that the Lions pose a much bigger threat than what they encountered last time out.
“We know it’s going to be tough against a quality side, that loves playing attacking rugby,” Loubscher said in an interview on the Sharks website.
“We expect a physical match, as all South African derbies always are, but the players are in a good space and took some nice momentum from the tour.
“We’ll be looking to take that momentum into the next four games.”