Hollywoodbets Sharks Made Wholesale Changes For Emirates Lions Clash


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 comes 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 installed

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 complaint and his partner in the second row will be Gerbrandt Grobler who 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, “The Lions are a physical outfit that likes 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 Jeandre “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 Renseburg.