DURBAN – The catchword in the Sharks camp building up to Friday’s match against the Reds is “obsession”, and that is pretty apt, given that it is beyond imperative that the home team get back on the Super Rugby horse.
Another loss, and at Kings Park (3.05pm kickoff), would be a disaster on the eve of departure to the Antipodes, where the Waratahs, Crusaders and Chiefs await.
The Sharks need this win so much that it has indeed become an obsession.
“It has to be an obsession from us to win this game, and it is,” coach Robert du Preez said.
“The boys have responded well (from the defeat to the Jaguares).
“No player goes out to intentionally perform badly, but in a competition as tough as this, if you are five percent off when you play against a quality team, then that is what happens to you (a 51-17 defeat).”
Du Preez was speaking at a press conference yesterday at which he revealed his team to fix matters against the Reds, but in the one position where many expected a change, flyhalf, the status quo persists.
Rob du Preez will continue, and Curwin Bosch remains at fullback.
The changes in the backline are at No 13 and 14, with Kobus van Wyk getting a crack at outside centre for the rested Lukhanyo Am (Springbok rotation), while Sbu Nkosi is back from injury for another rested Bok, Makazole Mapimpi.
In the front row, Tendai Mtawarira and Coenie Oosthuizen come storming back from their rest, replacing Thomas du Toit and Juan Schoeman.
Some Springbok players are coming back to the @CellC Sharks from rotational leave and return to the starting line-up for the game against the @Reds_Rugby on Friday at JONSSON KINGS PARK.— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) April 16, 2019
See the full team release here: https://t.co/aCjsD491f1#SHAvRED #OurSharksForever pic.twitter.com/V0ccbv42TM
The final change is on the flank, where the industrious Jacques Vermeulen is rotated back into the side for Luke Stringer.
On the other flank, Philip van der Walt remains despite an underwhelming outing against the Jaguares (with Jean-Luc du Preez continuing his comeback from the bench), but the 29-year-old has promised to up his game.
He yesterday also spoke about the need for him to step up as a leader.
15 Curwin Bosch 14 Sbu Nkosi 13 Kobus van Wyk 12 Andre Esterhuizen 11 Lwazi Mvovo 10 Robert du Preez 9 Louis Schreuder (captain) 8 Daniel du Preez 7 Jacques Vermeulen 6 Philip van der Walt 5 Hyron Andrews 4 Ruben van Heerden 3 Coenie Oosthuizen 2 Kerron van Vuuren 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Bench: 16 Fez Mbatha 17 Juan Schoeman 18 Thomas du Toit 19 Tyler Paul 20 Jean-Luc du Preez 21 Cameron Wright 22 Marius Louw 23 Aphelele Fassi.@MikeGreenaway67