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Do the Sharks have mental strength to win at Lions?

Super Rugby
DURBAN - If you had asked Sharks coach Robert du Preez in February if he would have taken four out of five Super Rugby wins going in to this week’s big Super Rugby clash with the Lions in Johnannesburg, he probably would have taken it, but having said that, the Sharks would have preferred a little more performance momentum going into a huge clash with last year’s finalists.

The Sharks have lost only to the Reds, in Brisbane, a game they could have won, and have subsequently been good and mediocre in patches to beat the Brumbies (away), the Waratahs (they should have put the NSW team away in the second half in Durban to secure the bonus point), and then did not pitch up for work against the Kings, sneaking in for a lucky win at home and squandering a chance to get five points.

Against the Cheetahs at the weekend, the Sharks pitched up for battle but were patchy and they will not go into this weekend’s battle at Ellis Park brimming with confidence

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Sharks player Jacques Vermeulen lines up Paul Schoeman from the Cheetahs during Saturday's game in Bloemfontein. Photo: Gerhard Steenkamp/BackpagePix

True enough the Sharks scored invaluable away log points, but they were not always convincing. The forwards were much better, and Curwin Bosch showed his class at flyhalf, but do the Sharks have enough in the bank both mentally and physically to beat the Lions away from home?

“Curwin has shown that he has BMT (Big Match Temperament) but we must be careful with a youngster who could be special for South Africa,” Du Preez said after his side had outlasted the Cheetahs 38-30 thanks to a very good performance in the second half by the pack, giving Bosch the platform to show his class with the boot.

“Everybody is talking about Curwin now but Pat (Lambie) is in a class of his own, and when he is over his back injury, we will have to make decisions if we are in a position where Pat is fit and so is Curwin.”

The intimation, though, is that a fit and in-form Lambie will resume at flyhalf, even if it means playing off the bench for a period, with Bosch at fullback along with Clement Poitrenaud as back-up, giving the Sharks the best of both worlds.

But for now, Lambie still has some six weeks to go before Du Preez has to worry about that. Right now he has the Lions ahead of him, and after that the Jaguares in Durban before a bye.

The Star

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