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Sharks make 11 changes to their XV for historic Lions rematch

By Liam Heagney

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Cell C Sharks have made eleven changes to their starting XV for Saturday’s second match inside a week versus the Lions. The Durban-based franchise were defeated 54-7 in Johannesburg on Wednesday but they will now hope to go better in their quickly arranged second clash with Warren Gatland’s tourists in Pretoria.        

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Skipper and No8 Phepsi Buthelezi is the only forward from the midweek game who has been asked to start again, with scrum-half Jaden Hendrikse and wingers Thaakir Abrahams and Werner Kok the three repeat selections in the backline although Kok will start on this occasion at outside centre.

The Sharks were asked to take on the Lions for the second time this week after the tourists’ scheduled match versus the Bulls was postponed due to a virus outbreak in Jake White’s squad.   

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RugbyPass Fanzone on whether the Lions tour will be cancelled
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RugbyPass Fanzone on whether the Lions tour will be cancelled

Sharks boss Sean Everitt said: “We need to show patience, we can’t force the passes or put kicks through. We need to hold on to the ball for an extra phase because somewhere along the line, the wall can break. We didn’t show enough patience with the ball on attack against the Lions (on Wednesday) and we need to back ourselves to hold it through several phases, even more.”

Asked if it was fair for the Sharks to be asked to play against Gatland’s squad twice in four days, Lions MD Ben Calveley said: “They are the only side in the country that are able to make the really strict protocols that exist. That is because they have already been living in a bubble. 

“In terms of playing that number of games in a short period of time, that applies to us as well doesn’t it? We were already scheduled to play a fixture on Saturday, albeit against the Bulls originally. I can’t comment specifically on the Sharks situation but what I can say is certainly from our side we have absolutely fantastic medical and strength and conditioning teams in place here who work extremely closely with the coaches.

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“If there were any doubts from a player welfare standpoint, the game wouldn’t be happening. I am sure that is also the case with the Sharks but I am not as close to their camp as I am with the Lions camp. 

CELL C SHARKS (vs Lions, Saturday)
1. Ntuthuko Mchunu
2. Kerron van Vuuren
3. Wiehahn Herbst
4. Le Roux Roets
5. Reniel Hugo
6. Dylan Richardson
7. Mpilo Gumede
8. Phepsi Buthelezi (c)
9. Jaden Hendrikse
10. Lionel Cronje
11. Thaakir Abrahams
12. Murray Koster
13. Werner Kok
14. Marnus Potgieter
15. Anthony Volmink

Replacements
16. Dan Jooste
17. Mzamo Majola
18. Khutha Mchunu
19. Thembelani Bholi
20. Jeandre Labushagne
21. Cameron Wright
22. Boeta Chamberlain
23. Jeremy Ward
24. Lourens Adriaanse
25. Rynhardt Jonker
26. Curwin Bosch

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Sharks make 11 changes to their XV for historic Lions rematch

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