“We lacked physicality, especially among the forwards in those SA Derbies,” Du Preez said. “The forwards know that it starts and ends with them and they have to bring the required physicality against the Rebels.
“I said after the Bulls game that we had had a good week of preparation but at the end of the day you have to go and do it on the field. We have looked very hard at our game after the two losses, and we don’t think there is anything wrong with it. We feel it is a mental thing the mindset going into the match (that has been at fault).”
“We have to get the mindset right,” Du Preez added. “This is a home game and we have to win it to get our campaign back on track.”
With increased physicality comes the issue of discipline, and the Sharks need to temper their play with controlled aggression.
On the issue of discipline, Du Preez said he had noted the Rebels’ incredible penalty count of 20 against them in the Lions game last week. That is more than double the average for a Super Rugby game.
“I thought a lot of those penalties were justified,” Du Preez said. “Especially in their 22 where they (seemed happy) to give away penalties But we have Rasta Rasavhenge reffing and we are sure he will sort that out.”
The team Du Preez named yesterday for the match shows four changes to the side that lost to the Bulls.
Young speedster Aphehele Fassi returns at fullback for Rhyno Smith after missing out because of concussion, with Curwin Bosch once more confined to the bench and Smith out of the match 23.
The other change to the backline is Springbok Andre Esterhuizen back at 12 for suspended Jeremy Ward.
At openside flank, Phepsi Buthelezi, will make his run-on Super Rugby debut after impressing of the bench in all four of the Sharks’ games this season. He replaces Wiaan Vosloo.
There is also a debut for lock Ruben van Heerden, who had an excellent cameo off the bench at Loftus.
Among the substitutes, former Western Province flank Luke Stringer is another set for a Super Rugby debut.
Former Sharks stalwart Craig Burden was in line to make his comeback after being named as hooker cover, only to pick up an injury at training yesterday.
Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Phepsi Buthelezi, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtwarira.
Subs: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Gideon Koegelenburg, 20 Luke Stringer, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Curwin Bosch.@MikeGreenaway67