Sharks change 11 for rematch with British and Irish Lions

·2-min read
Sharks players form a guard of honour for the British and Irish Lions after the tourists' victory at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

South African franchise the Sharks have dropped 11 of the run-on team hammered by the British and Irish Lions two days ago for a second match against the tourists on Saturday.

The Lions were scheduled to play Bulls franchise this weekend in the third of eight tour matches, but a Covid-19 outbreak forced the Pretoria team to withdraw.

Due to the coronavirus, the Durban-based Sharks had to play in Johannesburg on Wednesday, and the second meeting with the Lions will be staged in Pretoria.

"The choice of the Sharks was dictated by the fact that they have been in a bubble, have returned negative tests throughout and were prepared to take on the fixture," said South African Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux.

Captain Phepsi Buthelezi is the only forward to survive the axe by coach Sean Everitt as he seeks to improve on a 54-7 midweek hiding.

In the backline, Werner Kok, who switches from wing to centre, wing Thaakir Abrahams and scrum-half Jaden Hendrikse are retained.

Those promoted include loosehead prop Ntuthuko Mchunu, who is highly rated by former Springboks star Tendai 'The Beast' Mtawarira.

"Ntuthuko is improving all the time and a potential great," said the 2019 Rugby World Cup winner of the 22-year-old.

Players called up by the Springboks for a three-Test series against the Lions from July 24 cannot represent their franchise, which robs the Sharks of nine first choices.

- Need for patience -

Everitt has stressed a need for patience when they seek to avoid a second drubbing within four days.

"We do create opportunities but need to show patience. We need to hold on to the ball for an extra phase because somewhere along the line, the wall can break," he said.

"We did not show enough patience with the ball on attack against the Lions on Wednesday and need to back ourselves to hold it through several phases, even more.

"When we get that right, we will be a really good, dangerous side and difficult to beat.

"We tend to force things and hope something happens. What you might get away with at Currie Cup level will not work against the Lions.

"It is really about getting the balance right -- when to have a go and when not to, when to force it and when not to."

The Lions will name their matchday 23 later on Friday.

Team (15-1)

Sharks: Anthony Volmink; Marnus Potgieter, Werner Kok, Murray Koster, Thaakir Abrahams; Lionel Cronje, Jaden Hendrikse; Phepsi Buthelezi (capt), Mpilo Gumede, Dylan Richardson; Reniel Hugo, Le Roux Roets; Wiehahn Herbst, Kerron van Vuuren, Ntuthuko Mchunu

Replacements (from): Dan Jooste, Mzamo Majola, Khutha Mchunu, Thembelani Bholi, Jeandre Labushagne, Cameron Wright, Boeta Chamberlain, Jeremy Ward, Lourens Adriaanse, Rynhardt Jonker, Curwin Bosch

Coach: Sean Everitt (RSA)

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