DURBAN - Part one of the Sharks’ Currie Cup mission to the Highveld ended handsomely in five points from their victory over the previously unbeaten Bulls last weekend but Robert du Preez has had to make changes to his side for Saturday's clash with the Lions at Ellis Park, notably in the backline.
Du Preez has changed his half-back combination, bringing in Benhard Janse van Rensburg at 10 (for Inny Radebe) and Cameron Wright at nine (for Michael Claassens) and there are further changes in the backline where injured wing Kobus van Wyk is replaced by veteran Odwa Ndungane, who will earn his 100th Currie Cup cap, and at centre where crocked Jeremy Ward is replaced by Marius Louw.
The pack is pretty much the unit that dominated the Bulls in the set-pieces to set up the win at the weekend.
“I am proud of the guts the guys showed at Loftus,” Du Preez said. “We are not happy with the 40 odd tackles we missed and our exits were not good, and we have to brush up on that before playing the Lions.”
But Du Preez was pleased with the attacking intent of his side in the 28-20 win that has taken them to second in the standings below the Cheetahs, the side the Sharks lost to in the first round when they fielded and under-strength side because Super Rugby was still on the go.
“I thought we played really good rugby at times, and it was just a few offloads that did not go to hand at times that could have led to more tries but we are pleased with the willingness to take to the game to the opposition. We want to play attacking rugby, and we showed that,” Du Preez said.
“We did the basics well and we did not try to be fancy, with a focus on eliminating the 50-50 passes that have caused so many errors in our previous games. I am pleased with the four tries, something we struggled with in Super Rugby. I understand the standard isn't the same but we're trying to get there, that's the main thing.”