Friday, 5th January 2024

The Sharks Media Release
VODACOM UNITED RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP

Hollywoodbets Sharks vs. Emirates Lions

Date: Saturday, 6th January 2024
Time: 17h00
Venue: Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Morne Ferreira

The Hollywoodbets Sharks host the Emirates Lions in the two teams’ opening match of the year when they meet in Round Eight of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship at Hollywoodbets Kings Park on Saturday.

Although the team come off the disappointment of a one point loss to the DHL Stormers last weekend, there were lots of positive, encouraging sides that they are approaching the kind of performances they’re aiming to play – on a regular basis – and the upcoming clash with the Lions is an opportunity to prove just what they’re capable of.

In changes from last week’s side, Hollywoodbets Sharks head coach John Plumtree has selected Fez Mbatha in at hooker with Kerron van Vuuren shifting to the bench, while Hanro Jacobs replaces Coenie Oosthuizen who has carried a massive workload over the past two months.

After missing last week’s clash with the Stormers, Eben Etzebeth is back from a stomach bug and his partner in the second row will be Gerbrandt Grobler who makes a welcome return from injury and takes over from Emile van Heerden.

Grant Williams and Jaden Hendrikse swapping scrumhalf duties is the only change to a settled backline.

Speaking ahead of the game, Williams admits that the team is in the right place both performance-wise and in the correct mental space to deliver a commanding performance on Saturday.

“Last week’s game against the Stormers was frustrating, we felt that we could have gotten the win and we felt that there were more positives than negatives,” he says. “We can now go out against the Lions and put in a performance that our fans can be proud of, so we’re pretty excited.

“We feel that as a group, we’re close to delivering the performances we want to.”

Looking at the opposition, he warns that, “The Lions are a physical outfit that like to move the ball around as well, they have a heavy pack so we can expect a physical battle.
“The thing for us it to get into our stride and give our fans a performance they deserve. But our squad is in a positive place and we’re building as a unit.

“Over the last few weeks we’ve moved forward, we’re much stronger now.”

Hollywoodbets Sharks
1. Ox Nche
2. Fez Mbatha
3. Hanro Jacobs
4. Eben Etzebeth
5. Gerbrandt Grobler
6. James Venter
7. Lappies Labuschagne
8. Phepsi Buthelezi
9. Grant Williams
10. Curwin Bosch
11. Makazole Mapimpi
12. Francois Venter
13. Lukhanyo Am (c)
14. Werner Kok
15. Aphelele Fassi

Replacements
16. Kerron van Vuuren
17. Ntuthuko Mchunu
18. Joel Hintz
19. Corne Rahl
20. George Cronje
21. Jaden Hendrikse
22. Boeta Chamberlain
23. Rohan Janse van Rensburg

Players not available for selection due to injury: 
•    Bongi Mbonambi
•    Dylan Richardson
•    Nevaldo Fleurs
•    Reniel Hugo
•    Vincent Koch
•    Vincent Tshituka

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•    Hashtags       #FeartheFin #VURC #SHAvsLIO

ENDS.

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