An exclusive match preview from armchair analyst, CapeShark.
The Sharks are back in the tank this weekend to take on the Lions, and while 5 points would be terrific for their cause, the humidity in Durban often has the last say in the matter. The Lions, for their part, are always up for a fight and full of running, even if they do seem to always drift into touch. This year, however, they meet a Sharks outfit on the up after having dispatched a Stormers team tipped for semi-final honours. To say the Sharks are fit is an understatement but Saturday also showed us they’re patient and they know how to win.
The Lions’ biggest problem through the years has been talent retention. If they’d managed to hang on to players like Schalk Brits, Bryan Habana, Jean Deysel, Rory Kockett, Enrico Januarie and Brian Mujati, they’d be an awesome outfit. But clearly it’s not so kiff up on the highveld. So every year is a ‘rebuilding year’ for the lacklustre leeus. Ellis Park also tends to be a repository for journeyman players. I just can’t believe how many chances they’re willing to give guys like Ashwin ‘leaden-legs’ Willemse. Even Andre Pretorius is eating up a salary that could be invested in someone who can actually string 5 games together.
However, the Lions do have one serious ace up their sleeve and that’s Heinke Van Der Merwe. Man, that guy is pure quality. I expect him to rattle our front row quite a bit. But that’s where it’ll end for their scrum, I’m afraid. Sorry, Heinke, ol’ chap. Make a move down to the Cape, it’s obvious Div has a soft spot for the streeptrui.
Out in the backline, the Lions have the diminutive general Pretorius warming the bench. Earl Rose is thus given the starting responsibilities. A lesser known fact is that Rose is so unstable his name actually appears on the periodic table right under Potassium. One minute he’s igniting the backs, the next he’s spontaneously combusted. Mind you, Ruan Pienaar can be quite ghastly on an off-day too. So expect an interesting tussle there.
Am I the only one that thinks Frans Steyn’s hair has grown beyond ridiculous into the realm of ludicrous? Seriously now. An Old English Sheepdog has nothing on that guy. And I’m pretty convinced it’s working in the opposite way to Samson’s.
On a final note, I was gobsmacked to see Henno Mentz make just about every website’s: ‘Team of the Week’. Admittedly I didn’t watch the Lions game, but one scribe described it as a ‘scandalous crime’ that he was allowed to leave the Natal in the first place. Not quite sure if I agree with that. Well, there you go, proof then that a Lions jersey is not always a career dead-end. Good on you, Henno.
Prediction: With the humidity, the Sharks will have to get some points in early before the swelter catches up with them. I think they’ll get their four tries.Tweet