Why Lions will be licking lips ahead of Sharks visit
The rudderless and seemingly leaderless Sharks have been battered from pillar to post this season and their setbacks seem to be unending.
Their leadership core has already been sawn off from beneath the knees with suspensions to Bismarck du Plessis and Francois Steyn.
Jean Deysel's seven-week ban for his knee drop on Matt Todd's head leaves the Sharks with a decidedly Currie Cup feel to them despite the number of Boks in their ranks. That is how anonymous most of them have been.
It is a lack of firepower the Lions will welcome with glee ahead of their clash at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Deysel's predictable heavy ban compounds the Sharks' problem following Pat Lambie's injury-enforced absence as the flyhalf will be unavailable for six weeks due to a neck vertebrae impingement.
While Deysel's ban could be seen as harsh, it is deserved as the loose-forward is a repeat offender. He earned a three-week ban for a stamp on Jordan Taufua's face in Christchurch last year.
But issues around the inconsistency of rulings have again been raised after Reds lock James Horwill only received a week's ban for his swinging arm against the Rebels.
It was the second time the former Reds and Wallaby captain has been sent off for foul play this season, which should have warranted a heavier ban on the grounds that his disciplinary issues are festering with no solution in sight.
Lambie's absence overlaps the Sharks' overseas trip in three weeks' time where they will have to negotiate their way through a potentially season-defining period without their star pivot.
It means the Sharks are without the second- highest points scorer in the competition with 93 points, meaning Fred Zeilinga and his total 53 minutes of Super Rugby this season will have to be pressed into service.
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