Sharks target pre-tour win

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iol spt apr24 Sharks Gallo Images The EP Kings sprung a surprise as they secured a 27-11 (half-time 14-8) win over the previously unbeaten Sharks XV in their Vodacom Cup South Section match. Photo by: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images

Durban – Director of rugby Jake White hopes the Sharks can end their home sequence with victory over the Highlanders in Durban on Friday before they go on tour.

The coastal side are looking comfortable at the top of the log having won seven out of eight games so far, but they are now bracing themselves for a final Kings Park outing ahead of a tough trip to Australasia.

“We're top now and everyone wants to beat us, that's something that happens in all sports,” White said ahead of the game.

“We want to control our own destiny in the competition with a home final and home semi-final.

“To do that, we have to win as many games as possible, home or away, so this one is no different.”

The Sharks made two changes to their line-up this week with JP Pietersen and Paul Jordaan recovering from injuries and replacing Jaco van Tonder and Tonderai Chavhanga.

The Durbanites, who hold a healthy six-point advantage over the Brumbies and Chiefs at the summit, depart for their four-game away trip on Saturday.

They will play the Rebels, Brumbies, Crusaders and Blues on their travels. Before that, White is looking to make it seven home wins from seven.

“The Highlanders are here on tour, they're coming off a bye and there's no doubt they're going to want to get a win in their first game in South Africa,” White said.

“The challenge for us is to focus on getting a result against them. It's our last home game for a long while and we have to keep the momentum going, whether it's the Highlanders here or the Rebels the following week.”

White said the Highlanders would pose a serious threat to their home record.

“They are a good side, they've got some good players and they look like a happy bunch. Let's not forget they were really disappointing last year.

“I have no doubt that coach Jamie Joseph has learnt a lot from last year.

“They've lost some key players, but they seem to be playing with a lot more happiness, understanding and passion together.”

The Otago side made three changes to their starting XV, the most significant being the loss of lock Brad Thorn, who is out with a season-ending injury. – Sapa

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