The Cell C Sharks will face the British & Irish Lions this evening in the second fixture of the 2021 tour. Whilst the game is not set to take place in the Shark tank in Durban, the teams will be eager for the hit out in light of all the developments surrounding the tour over the last few days. No one will be more eager to prove their worth though than Sharks pivot, Curwin Bosch.
the 24-year-old Bosch has been on the fringes of the Springbok squad in recent years, only earning two Springbok caps since his debut in 2017. Many thought he would have been included in the extended 46 man Springbok squad, but this was not to be as the in form Mr. reliable, Morne Steyn usurped him. Bosch will be out to prove the national selectors wrong with his booming boot and attacking play as he faces Dan Biggar at 10.
Biggar is likely to be the preferred 10 for the B & I Lions when the tests come around, and the player was sublime in the warm up fixture against Japan. The tactical battle between the two will be eagerly watched by Sharks fans as they hope for a late call up for their flyhalf to the National set up.
The Sharks have a stronger side than their Joburg based counterparts (Lions) who turned out on Saturday and will be looking to do much better than they did in the 2009 tour when they were defeated 39 - 3. The Sharks captain and 8th man Phepsi Buthelezi is back and has been in stellar form of late. Whilst Jaden Hendrikse at 9 has had praise heaped on him by former Springbok coach, Nick Mallet.
Elsewhere on the park the Sharks will look to players such as Marius Louw, Jeremy Ward and Werner Kok to give them some attacking edge out wide. Up and coming lock JJ van der Mescht is on the bench and the 120kg, 2m tall 22 year old will be eager to show the Springboks that he is ready to strep up to the plate and compete with the likes of Etzebeth and Snyman as Bok enforcers.
The B & I Lions have named a strong side to take on the Sharks with Sam Simmonds, Josh Navidi and Tom Curry forming a deadly loose trio. Simmonds will also be raring to go and show his home side coach Eddie Jones, just what he is capable of. Mako Vunipola also gets a start in the front row whilst Tadhg Furlong is set to bolster the pack from the bench.
The side is captained by Ian Henderson, with newly appointed tour captain, Connor Murray on the bench as Gatland gives a start to Gareth Davies. Elliot Daly gets his first start of the tour at 13 and it will be interesting to see if he shifts to fullback later in the game, since Stuart Hogg is included on the bench.
The B & I Lions are likely to win this clash as the Sharks have numerous players in the National set up (9) but will face a more sturdy opposition than they faced against their namesakes over the weekend. Here is hoping the boys from the coast can pull of an upset against the best of the Northern Hemisphere.
Kick off: 19:00
Sharks: 15 Manie Libbok, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse; 1 Khwezi Mona, 2 Fez Mbatha, 3 Khutha Mchunu, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 5 Hyron Andrews, 6 James Venter, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi (c).
Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Reniel Hugo, 21 Dylan Richardson, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Anthony Volmink.
British and Irish Lions: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3 Zander Fagerson, 4 Iain Henderson (c), 5 Adam Beard, 6 Josh Navidi, 7 Tom Curry, 8 Sam Simmonds.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Stuart Hogg, 23 Chris Harris.