Resting players such as regular captain Warren Whiteley, Franco van der Merwe, Jaco Kriel, Derick Minnie, Marnitz Boshoff and Michael Bondesio is a bold move by coach Johan Ackermann.
He believes, however, that the final pre-season match will be the ideal opportunity to mix youth and experience, and will act as a learning curve for “those that have not yet come into contact with a side as experienced as the Sharks”.
“Of course it is important for us to avoid further injuries, so we have decided to rest some of our players,” Ackermann said.
“However, I also believe the game will give some of our young players an opportunity to express themselves. It will be a chance for them to put their hands up for the future.”
While the Lions are still mixing and matching their combinations, Sharks coach Jake White has made it clear that tonight’s final pre-season outing will be a dress-rehearsal for their opening game against the Bulls in Durban next weekend.
An all-Springbok front row will face the Lions while flyhalf Patrick Lambie returns from honeymoon and centre Francois Steyn is over his injury, as is fullback SP Marais.
“I’d pick a team that I’d like to start against the Bulls, I’ll give them as much game-time as I can in the first 40 or 50 minutes,” said White.
The match kicks off at 7pm.