Wentzel to lead Sharks against Lions

Date published: April 9 2015

Lock Marco Wentzel will captain the Sharks as part of several changes to the starting XV for Saturday's clash with the Lions in Johannesburg.

The former Springbok is the Durban-based outfit's fourth captain this season, taking over the reins from Pat Lambie, who was injured in last weekend's crushing defeat to the Crusaders.

First-choice skipper Bismarck du Plessis and Jean Deysel – who captained the side against the Western Force – are both serving suspensions.

Sharks boss Gary Gold has wielded the axe, after the loss to the Crusaders, welcoming back two players from injury to bolster his side.

Etienne Oosthuizen and Willem Alberts have both returned from injury lay-offs and the pair will hope to make an impact off the bench.

Odwa Ndungane has been named at full-back, replacing SP Marias who gets a rest after starting all eight matches to date. This sees the return of S'bura Sithole on the wing, with Fred Zeilinga replacing Lambie in the final change to the backline.

Up front, there is an overhaul with Lourens Adriaanse, Franco Marais and Dale Chadwick packing down in the front row with Jannie du Plessis and Beast Mtawarira rested, while Renaldo Bothma replaces Deysel in the final change.

“Our performance this past weekend was unacceptable and we have taken full responsibility for the result and are determined to fix it this weekend,” Gold told the Sharks' official website.

“I believe in these players, we have a great group of guys. We are just not playing well at the moment and nobody can deny that.  We are just going to have to show some character. We are going to have to step up to the plate. It is as simple as that.”

Sharks: 15 Odwa Ndungane, 14 S'bura Sithole, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Cobus Reinach,8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Renaldo Bothma, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Jack Wilson.

Date: Saturday, April 11
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 17:05 local (15:05 GMT, 01:05 AEST, 03:05 NZST)
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden, Rodney Boneparte (both South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)