Sharks clear Eben Etzebeth to front Lions

Etzebeth has recovered from a stomach bug and will help the Sharks face the Lions this weekend.

Legendary enforcer Eben Etzebeth has fully recovered from illness and slots back into the Sharks lineup to tackle the Lions at Kings Park on Saturday.

After missing last week’s Vodacom URC defeat to the Stormers in Cape Town due to a stomach bug, Etzebeth is back and will partner Gerbrandt Grobler in the second row. Grobler, too, makes a welcome return from injury and takes over from Emile van Heerden.

In other changes, head coach John Plumtree has selected Fez Mbatha at hooker with Kerron van Vuuren shifting to the bench, while Hanro Jacobs replaces Coenie Oosthuizen, who has carried a massive workload over the past two months.

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Elsewhere, Grant Williams and Jaden Hendrikse swap scrumhalf duties in the only change to a settled backline.

The Sharks host the Lions in the teams’ opening match of 2024 when they meet in a rescheduled URC round 8 match. Plumtree’s charges are in last place on the log, and the clash is an opportunity to end a woeful run of form in the competition

Sharks – 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Lukhanyo Am (c), 12 Francois Venter, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Grant Williams, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Jeandre Labuschagne, 6 James Venter, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Hanro Jacobs, 2 Fez Mbatha, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Joel Hintz, 19 Corne Rahl, 20 George Cronje, 21 Jaden Hendrikse, 22 Boeta Chamberlain, 23 Ethan Hooker.

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