sharks eager to feed on the lions

MURDERED: Paul Langa. 18/02/09. © Unknown.
MURDERED: Paul Langa. 18/02/09. © Unknown.

Meshack Khotha

The Sharks host the Lions in what is likely to be a tough Super 14 contest in Durban on Saturday. Kickoff is at 7.10pm.

Both teams kicked off the southern hemisphere tournament on a high with the Sharks scoring an away 20-15 victory over the Stormers at Newlands while the Lions beat the Cheetahs 34-28 at Ellis Park Stadium.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, Sharks coach John Plumtree said they badly need to win the encounter.

"It is very crucial to bag valuable points at the inception of the first round, especially at home before touring Down Under.

"We know our opponents will come at us with strong force. But we are ready to absorb pressure and send them back home empty-handed," said an optimistic Plumtree.

The Sharks mentorwas voted the 2008 Absa coach of the year while his team got the Vodacom Super 14 team award.

Lions coach Eugene "Loffie'' Eloff said they are facing the form team in the country at the moment who boast quality players including Springbok skipper John Smit.

"However, we will play our hearts out and show them no respect on the field," said Eloff.

The Lions will pin their hopes on Andre Pretorius, captain Cobus Grobbelaar and Ashwin Willemse, who scored two tries against the Cheetahs at the weekend, to upset their counterparts.

The Sharks are likely to retain the team from last weekend's trip to Cape Town, with captain John Muller, Ryan Kankowski, Smit and Odwa Ndungane among the players to watch.