DURBAN - It has been a week of two differing approaches to this, the biggest match for both the Sharks and the Lions to date.
In Durban, the talk has been on introspection and bettering mistakes made through the first few games. In Johannesburg there has been not much talk, fearful or respectful, at all.
The Sharks, in their first full season under coach Robert du Preez, are definitely still in a feeling-out stage. They have a host of youngsters who are still tasting the level of competition on show in Super Rugby, and are also working behind a skilled, if not green, coach.
Lessons are learnt daily, and even more so on weekends, and so when the Sharks can claim four wins out five in the competition thus far, they can be proud.
However, they also need to approach this match knowing that even their best thus far, probably won’t be good enough - they need to raise the bar.
The Lions, after a shaky start against the Cheetahs away from home, and a loss of their own design in Argentina, have shown by those comparisons just how good they are at home.
They dispatched the Aussie invaders in the shape of the Reds and the Waratahs at fortress Ellis Park, but for an all-South African derby they too will need to be at their best.
Veteran wing Lwazi Mvovo said in the week that the Lions are formidable at home, but that was not the focus of the Sharks; the focus has been internalised. The men from Durban are going to that Bastion of Lions’ pride for one reason only, and that is to win.
The Sharks have also selected a team that seems hell-bent on picking up a win, arguably strengthening their loose trio, their backline, and to a different extend, their front row.
Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira is sitting this one out as he attends his grandmother’s funeral, with Thomas du Toit in at the loose head.
Garth April comes in for Clement Poitrenaud, who is fit enough to start this match but has been relegated to play a friendly match against Griquas in the hope of easing him over a few persistent niggles.
And finally, Daniel du Preez joins his twin Jean-Luc in the loose trio as Tera Mtembu shifts to No 6 to form an abrasive set of loose forwards.
“I have personally never played with both of them, or started with both of them on the field,” captain Mtembu said of the Du Preez brothers.
“It is a new challenge and it is exciting, they are both physical players that bring a different dimension to the game. It is a new combination, but I am sure it will go well and I am excited to be part of it.”