Sharks coach, Robert du Preez. Photo: PA/TRACEY NEARMY

DURBAN - In this short sprint of a tournament, the Sharks are looking to shift into the next gear when they face the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein tomorrow. They got their engine running against the Blue Bulls, and despite the talk of facing a Cheetahs B team, the Durban outfit are focusing inwards.

No doubt the Cheetahs will not be fielding the best that the Free State has to offer tomorrow, but in the modern professional game, the standard of opposition does not weigh heavily on the minds any more. It is much more an inward focus and an attempt to hit all the markers and performance benchmarks in any game.

For the Sharks, this encounter will be about building upon a performance at Kings Park last week that got the job done, but was lacking in a few places. The Sharks have been plagued with an inability to convert enough of their try-scoring opportunities, and tomorrow's game will be a good one to get that right.

“For us it is going to be important that we keep the momentum going for that win last weekend,” coach Robert du Preez said. “We are still going to take it one game at a time and with this game against the Cheetahs we want to make sure that we execute our opportunities that are out there, and really be accurate in our attack.”

While the Sharks want to make sure they finish off more opportunities, and tighten up that weakness, they also want to push the envelope further with what they did well against the Bulls.

“Things that really stood out for us in the Bulls game was our transition in defence, the work ethic and work rate was outstanding so we want to build on that momentum,” Du Preez added.

What will be helping the Sharks in picking up more momentum will be the fact that Du Preez has selected the same starting line up with the only change in the matchday squad coming on the bench where Tera Mtembu misses out due to a knee injury. While selecting the same team week in and week out is a bonus, and a luxury, it is also a headache for the coach who has players as young as 18 knocking on the door.

“It is a big challenge for us that we have so many guys that are in the bigger squad that are chomping to play - guys like Leolin Zas and Rhyno Smith, just to mention a few names, and there are some youngsters that could potentially come into the reckoning, even in the Under-19s who have had a great season. Those guys are really exciting youngsters that could easily fit in our setup and I’d have no hesitation selecting those guys if the opportunity presents itself.”

Sharks team: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Wian Vosloo, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 John-Hubert Meyer, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle (captain), 1 Juan Schoeman. Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Khutha Mchunu, 18 Andrew Evans, 19 Luke Stringer, 20 Cameron Wright, 21 Johan Deysel, 22 Aphelele Fassi.

Cape Times

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