The Sharks and Bulls are set for a crunch clash this Saturday in Durban.
The men from Durban can knock the Lions from the top spot if they secure a win, while the Bulls will want to get back into the playoff contest with a win.
Sharks Head coach Robert du Preez admits that this is a huge game:
“It’s going to be a big, physical battle and we have to be up for it,” he explains. “This is going to be Test match rugby.”
Commenting on where the team needs to be accurate, he says:
“Our exits have to be good, our kicking game in general has to be spot on. Our discipline has to be good and our physicality too. Those three things are vital.”
Sharks team and injury news
Sharks head coach Robert du Preez has made just two changes to the starting line-up for this week’s home derby against the Bulls. Luke Stringer replaces Phepsi Buthelezi at flank and Lwazi Mvovo rotates on the wing with Sbu Nkosi.
There is also a first call-up this campaign for experienced loose forward Philip van der Walt who returned from Japan with an injury but is now back to full fitness, joining Craig Burden (hooker) in making an impact off the bench.
Meanwhile Craig Burden is set to play in his first game since 2013, if he comes off the bench it will be his 48th appearance for the Sharks who also welcome back Philip van der Walt from injury.
Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Lwazi Mvovo, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (c), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Luke Stringer, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Philip van der Walt, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Kobus van Wyk, 23 Curwin Bosch.
Bulls team and injury
Bulls coach Pote Human has rotated his scrumhalves for the visit to Durban, which sees Embrose Papier starting and fit-again lock Eli Snyman also making his return to the run on side.
Bulls: 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handre Pollard (c), 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Substitutes: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Conrad van Vuuren, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Tim Agaba, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Johnny Kotze
Kick off time
Saturday, 30 March at 15:05 (SAST).
TV & Live Stream
The game will be broadcast live on SuperSport 1 (SS1).