Same teams but a host of dissimilar faces as the Sharks and Lions make a comeback in a hastily arranged match in Pretoria on Saturday. Expect another barrage of attempts
Sharks vs Lions Preview – Rematch
When British and Irish black Sitting at their hotel on Wednesday, at about 5.30pm while they waited for their Covid test results, their chances of playing Cell C Sharks this week were rapidly dropping.
However, at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday (5pm), tourists will meet sharks for the second time in four days. Doubles on opponents isn’t a new phenomenon – in fact, the first Lions in 1888 started playing in turns against the Otago – but it is certainly unprecedented in the modern era.
The home team was supposed to be the Bulls, but Covid cases in their camp put an end to that. Health issues aside, it’s unfortunate that the Currie Cup and Super Rugby Unlocked Champions were unable to meet the match because the Lions needed the strongest opposition they could get.
Related: Latest Lions News 2021
Fifty point rounds, as happened against the Sigma Lions and Sharks, don’t provide much of a gauge for Warren Gatland and his coaches as they contemplate the selection for the Castle Lager Test series. Right now, their toughest challenges come against their bib-wearing teammates in training.
The Lions entered Wednesday’s first game with the Sharks in a degree of chaos, making eight changes to 23 in the 90 minutes before kickoff. They still won 54-7 without looking sharp.
However, the Sharks were the clear opponents of the hastily arranged match this weekend because they were already in a bubble without positive Covid tests. It will be interesting to see how the rematch turns out, not least because the reconstituted home team will likely be weaker than the one launched midweek.
The Lions’ main concern on that occasion was the initial fragility of the Scrum, where they leaked three penalties for a breakdown, and many penalties waived overall, many for slipping or not rolling. Snow bags on the flankers of Louis Reis Zammit and Dohan van der Merwe were not a welcome sight, although the latter starts again here.
On the plus side, the back row went well, especially Josh Navidi, and Rory SutherlandAn effective counter-reaction was the kind of detail that enables the Lions machine to determine its trajectory.
Elliot DalyThe England full-back or winger, but the outside center here, looks like a better player than the one we’ve seen in the Six Nations, and could easily start the series if the lions made an attacking decision instead of defending. Watch Wednesday’s top events below.
We are only in three matches, including the Japan match in Scotland, but the names of the 15th Test have already been decided. The back three have scored 14 of 20 attempts so far, and Josh Adams, with eight of them, is coming up for the series’ premiere on July 24. Or so the thinking goes. And Anthony Watson, in the previous 15th round for most people, is behind after being restricted to 16 minutes of movement. Fortunately, he is now back in battle.
Of course, the bigger picture is not just the series’ crippling Lions buildup but the bigger picture South Africa, who have played only one game as a team, against Georgia, since winning the World Cup in 2019. They may need to pick potential Springbok groups for next week’s South Africa A game in Cape Town.
The Lions will fly south on Sunday without four of their squad because one player and three Johannesburg staff have to be fired.
This is the Lions Tour 2021. More twists and turns than quirky stuff, like BlackadderLord Melchette might say.
What is the team news?
Jimmy George of Saracens has the honor of captain for that person. Van der Merwe, the top scorer in the midweek triple, and Daly are the only ones to ask to come back from the start.
There is a late start for Bath’s Watson and a new midfield pair from Daly and Chris Harris, who is wearing 12 wearing 13 – along with Owen Farrell – against Sigma Lions. Adams, the only lion to start the first three games, is getting a good break.
Anthony Watson William Williams Dan Biggar |, Gareth Davis and Tadge Byrne all play four days after the game is scheduled to start at Ellis Park. There is a 6-2 split on the bench, with Conor Murray and Art Russell covering their backs.
Sharks will be nearly impossible to spot as of Wednesday because only four players are again in the 15th start. Skipper and No. 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, Jaden Hendrikse and left Thaakir Abrahams wear the same shirts during Werner Cook – who was physically like everyone else in the middle of the week – moving from the right wing to out of the middle.
Four more of Wednesday’s XV off the bench are Sharks 11 people. Three names are expected to be executed sooner than later.
Several new shark faces have joined them just this year. They include former Bulls winger Marnus Poetjetter and half-experienced flywheel Lionel Crone, 32, who started the year with Japanese team Toyota Verbles and who also counts Brumby among his former clubs.
Le Roux Roets, a 6ft 7in, 140kg giant once at the NSW Waratahs, will add bulk to the pack. The second grader had to lose 30kg once in 12 weeks as his weight got out of control.
Back row Mbelo Gumede last year introduced an expanded list of players the national coaches could choose from for the Springboks Green match against Gold.
What did the coaches say?
Lions coach Warren Gatland: “It’s obviously been a bit of a turbulent week, but we remain determined to keep dealing with the punches.
“In many ways, the challenges we have faced this week have reinforced our resolve to do everything in our power to overcome the challenges created by Covid.
“This is another chance to see how the boys go and for us as coaches to try some other combinations before the test series.
“We want to say thank you to the Sharks Boys for standing in front and back again on Saturday. This is the spirit of rugby, and a great opportunity for them to take on us again.”
Shark trainer Sean Everett: “Respect for the ball is really important. We create chances but we need to be patient, we can’t force passes or take kicks.
“We need to hold on to the ball for an extra stage because somewhere along the line the wall could break. We haven’t been patient enough with the ball in attack against the Lions (on Wednesday) and need to support ourselves to keep it through several stages. When we get it right, we’ll be A really good team, dangerous and hard to beat.
“Sometimes it’s the people composition, the enthusiasm and the energy that we have in the team, we tend to impose things and hope something happens. What you might get at the Carling Cup level won’t work against international players.
“It’s really about getting the balance right: when to go and when not; when to force it and when not to. Against a high-quality team like the Lions, you have to be patient.”
What time does it start and is it on TV?
Seal Sea Sharks vs British and Irish Lions, Saturday 10 July, Emirates Park
The match starts at 5 PM (GMT) and will be broadcasted Live on Sky Sports, with highlights to follow All4. Or you can listen to live commentary on talkSPORT.
England’s Wayne Barnes blew the whistle for his first two matches in this round. He will be assisted by three South Africans, assistant referees Jacko Pepper and A.J. Jacobs, and TMO Stewart Perry in the truck.
What are the formations?
Sharks: Anthony Follminck; Marnus Poetgeter, Werner Cook, Murray Koster, Thacker Abrahams; Lionel Crone, and Jaden Hendricks; Ntotoko Machono, Kieron van Vooren, Weihan Herbst, Lou Rouets, Renell Hugo, Dylan Richardson, Mbelo Gumede, Vese Butheleese (captain).
alternatives16 Dan Jost, 17 MJ Majula, 18 Khotha Mashunu, 19 Thembilani Bholi, 20 Jinder Labuchan, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Poeta Chamberlain, 23 Jeremy Ward, 24 Lauren Adriance, 25 Reinhardt Juncker, 26 Corwin Bush.
the black: Liam Williams, Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly, Chris Harris, and Dohan van der Merwe; Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Rory Sutherland, Jimmy George (Captain), Tudge Furlong, Maru Itogi, Johnny Hill, Tudge Byrne, Hamish Watson, Jack Conan.
alternatives16 Ken Owens, 17 Wayne Jones, 18 Kyle Sinclair, 19 Courtney Laws, 20 Sam Symonds, 21 Tom Curry, 22 Conor Murray, 23 Finn Russell.
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