Vincent Tshituka of Golden Lions celebrating with Tiaan Swanepoel of Golden Lions in Bloemfontein, December 12 2020. Picture: FRIKKIE KAPP/GALLO IMAGES
Vincent Tshituka of Golden Lions celebrating with Tiaan Swanepoel of Golden Lions in Bloemfontein, December 12 2020. Picture: FRIKKIE KAPP/GALLO IMAGES

The Lions gave the men who delivered arguably their best performance of the season last weekend the thumbs up for Saturday’s Currie Cup clash against the Sharks at Ellis Park.

However‚ question marks linger over the availability of loosehead prop Sti Sithole and flank Vincent Tshituka‚ who are both struggling with niggles. The latter was one of the outstanding performers in the Lions’ win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last weekend. They will both undergo late fitness tests to establish their readiness for the Sharks.

Tshituka has been one of the team’s most consistent performers and his presence will be much needed. Should he not come through his fitness test‚ his place will go to Wilhelm van der Sluys who will lend considerably more bulk to the Lions pack.

“Wilhelm will start at seven‚ and Willem [Alberts] will remain at lock. Willem has started doing good work for us at four‚” coach Ivan van Rooyen said.

He explained that it will rob the Lions of Tshituka’s impact in less frequented areas.

“Vince is in really good form. His work rate is exceptionally high. His contributions are huge in the squad. He gets to places and does things other players don’t. He will certainly be missed if he doesn’t make it.”

Despite the team’s stunning performance against the Cheetahs‚ Van Rooyen would have been tempted to make one or two adjustments.

Scrumhalf Morné van den Berg made a huge impact off the bench in Bloemfontein but double try-scorer André Warner helped give the team a solid start.

Tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis was also one of the standout performers last weekend but Carlu Sadie who got married two Saturdays ago would ordinarily start for the Lions.

“Carlu is busy getting fit. He’s not in a position yet where we can give him 40‚ 60 or 80 minutes. He will have a big session on Friday and he should be available for selection from next Monday‚” Van Rooyen said.

Centre Burger Odendaal and Jamba Ulengo are back among the substitutes for Saturday’s clash.

Lions team to play Sharks: Tiaan Swanepoel; Stean Pienaar‚ Wandisile Simelane‚ Dan Kriel‚ Courtnall Skosan; Elton Jantjies (captain)‚ André Warner; Len Massyn‚ Vincent Tshituka/Wilhelm van der Sluys‚ Jaco Kriel; Marvin Orie‚ Willem Alberts; Jannie du Plessis‚ Jaco Visagie‚ Sti Sithole/Dylan Smith. Replacements from: Jan-Henning Campher‚ Ruan Dreyer‚ Wiehahn Herbst‚ Reinhard Nothnagel‚ Roelof Smit‚ Morné van den Berg‚ Burger Odendaal‚ Jamba Ulengo‚ Carlu Sadie‚ Manuel Rass

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