Preview: Sharks v EP Kings

Date published: August 13 2015

After making a false start to the season last week, the Sharks are under pressure to get a big result against the Eastern Province Kings in Round Two of the Currie Cup at Kings Park on Saturday.

In the final cross-section fixture of the weekend, the Sharks will be desperate to bounce back from their shock loss to the Pumas in Nelspruit in Round one as they host the Kings in Durban.

The Sharks will know that they risk falling off the pace if they don't pick up a bonus point win after the Bulls, Lions and WP all bagged five points in the opening Round.

Sharks loose forward Jean Deysel (starting) and centre Paul Jordaan (bench) will make a welcome return to the Sharks steam. The pair have been out of action for months due to injury, but their experience will be important as the Durban side go in search of their first victory.

Where possible, head coach Gary Gold has kept intact the combinations from last week in an attempt to develop them further.

Despite suffering a heavy loss in their opening match against the Golden Lions, EP Kings coach, Brent Janse van Rensburg showed faith in the players that did duty last week by keeping changes to a minimum. In the only change to his starting XV, Siyanda Grey, who was on the bench last week, comes in for Sylvian Mahuza on the right wing.

The Kings went down 51-14 to the Lions in Port Elizabeth last Saturday but Janse van Rensburg said he did not think it would be appropriate to make wholesale changes at this stage.

"We have selected a similar combination because we feel we need to maintain a sense of continuity," said Janse van Rensburg.

"We have brought Siyanda into the team as we believe he has what it takes to curb the type of rugby the Sharks will bring to the game."

With the scrum being an issue for the Kings last weekend, Janse van Rensburg was happier with the five-two split and felt they could benefit from an extra front row player on the bench.

"We have focused on our scrums to make sure we fix what the problems were and we know we have to focus on the scrum as a united effort," said Janse van Rensburg.

Skipper Luke Watson said his team were looking forward to the opportunity to give an improved performance this week.

"The Sharks are a very good side, with a strong set piece and big backs, so it will be a tough match," said Watson.

"The Lions game was a bit of a wake-up call, but we know what areas we have had to work on and hopefully we will come back a bit more polished this week."

The teams:

Sharks: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Wandile Mjekevu, 12 Heimar Williams, 11 Andre Esterhuizen, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Daniel du Preez, 6 Jean Deysel, 5 Marco Wentzel (captain), 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Monde Hadebe, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Gerhard Engelbrecht, 18 David McDuling, 19 Francois Kleinhans, 20 Michael Claassens, 21 Paul Jordaan, 22 SP Marais.

EP Kings: 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Luther Obi, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Luke Watson (captain), 5 Cornell Hess, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Schalk Ferreira
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Kevin Luiters, 22 Karlo Aspeling

Date: Saturday, August 15
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 17:10 (15:10 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni,  Tahla Ntshakaza 
TMO: Christie du Preez