NAPIER, New Zealand – Defence and discipline will be the focus points for the Sharks team as they prepare to take on the high-riding Hurricanes in Napier on Friday in their last match on tour in Super Rugby this season.
Coach Robert du Preez, speaking about preparations for the match, has identified these two important factors as absolute non-negotiables for our match against the 2016 champions.
“We know this week will be tougher than last week, the Hurricanes are the number one team in New Zealand in my opinion,” he admitted.
Last week the Hurricanes put 50 points on the log leading Rebels and Du Preez warned that big scores are possible if a team’s discipline and defence fall apart.
“It just shows that if you have a little bit of an off day, you can catch 50 points. It happened to us against the Rebels and the Blues against us on Saturday," he added.
“This means that our defence is going to have to be out the top drawer. We’ve given away too many soft tries and Saturday showed what a massive effect a yellow card can have on a team, so a massive focus for us will be on a discipline.
"In saying that, we only gave away six penalties, but the card was costly because we gave away three tries in the period. You just can’t lose a player against the New Zealand teams. Defence will win us this game.”
The Sharks not only came away with a vital win last week, but a pretty much injury free scorecard, allowing the coach to name an unchanged line-up for Friday’s clash.
Sharks team: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Tera Mtembu, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha (captain), 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Beast Mtawarira. Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Tyler Paul, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Kobus van Wyk.
African News Agency (ANA)