DURBAN – The Sharks are expecting a warm welcome in icy Canberra on Saturday for their Super Rugby quarter-final against the Brumbies, a team that is more South African in the way they play than Australian, according to skipper Louis Schreuder.
The Australian capital is currently experiencing below zero temperatures, with a matchday high of 10ºC predicted for a match that will kick off at 7.15pm local time.
No wonder the Sharks have chosen to base themselves in a warmer Sydney, at the cosy Coogee Beach location that stood them in good stead earlier this season when they defeated the Waratahs in their tour opener.
“We are very comfortable here in Coogee, a place we really enjoy and which was very welcome for us after the mad scramble to get to Australia after beating the Stormers at Newlands,” Schreuder said.
With an exciting quarter-final on the horizon, the @CellC Sharks will be performing with no half measures when they take on the @BrumbiesRugby in Australia. 🏉#BRUvSHA #OurSharksForever 🦈 pic.twitter.com/s8pFNmbIOI— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) June 18, 2019
The Sharks arrived back in Durban from Cape Town at 1pm on Sunday and had to be back at the airport for departure at 3pm on the same day. They will prepare for the match in Coogee and then travel by bus to Canberra tomorrow (a three-hour journey).
Going into last week’s final round, the Sharks had three possible away opponents in front of them for the playoffs if they beat the Stormers ... the Crusaders, Jaguares or Brumbies. Of the three, the Sharks will feel they have pulled the best possible stick.
“We have not faced them before this season but they are not the Australian conference winners by chance,” Schreuder said. “They remind me more of an SA side than an Australian one given their highly physical approach, their very good set piece and precise kicking game.”
Having played six SA derbies this year, including last week’s 12-9 defeat of the Stormers, Schreuder says the Sharks are in good shape for another SA-type encounter. “We take a lot of confidence out of our win in Cape Town,” Schreuder acknowledged.
“Especially the last three or four minutes when we held onto the ball and got the try at the end. In my opinion, we deserved to win that game because we dominated all aspects of the match.
“We were really up for it and to seal the deal at the end has given us good preparation for finals rugby.”