DURBAN – The Sharks are faced with a break from their Super Rugby commitments for the next few weeks as the Springboks assemble.
There is a large contingent of Sharks who are involved, but they will at least have a chance to reset and recharge before making a push for the play-offs.
The Sharks have three matches left to try and align themselves into the top eight of the competition in order to make it to the knockout stages, where anything could happen.
They have said for a few weeks now that they have to win every game going ahead, but having lost to the Jaguares last week in Argentina, that rings even truer.
v Lions (at home)
The Sharks will play the Lions on June 30, when the international season comes to an end, and although it will be at home, it will be one of their tougher games.
The Sharks will need to nullify the Lions’ scrum, especially seeing as their opening game in Johannesburg was a dog-show for the Sharks’ set piece.
The Durban-based outfit have turned things around though, and if they can dominate up front, they can also stop the dangerous Elton Jantjies from running the show.
v Stormers (away)
While the Stormers have all but ended their charge in the competition, with their latest loss to the Lions in Cape Town, they are still a big threat to the Sharks when they meet in the penultimate game of the round robin.
The Stormers are also a forward heavy team, but the Sharks have already stood up to them this season, and if they can dominate up front, and ply their particular brand of physicality, the Stormers should fall.
v Jaguares (at home)
The Jaguares showed they are a team that can take on all comers, and it doesn’t matter if they are home or away.
They are only building in confidence, and if they find themselves in line for a play-off spot with only this game to go, you can be sure that the Argentinian side will be fired up for this game.
* In other matches featuring South African teams at the weekend, the Lions edged the Stormers 26-23 in a closely fought Super Rugby match in Cape Town on Saturday evening to consolidate their top spot on the South African Conference table.
The Bulls and the Sharks were both beaten in their Super Rugby Round 15 fixtures.
The Jaguares, meanwhile, continued with their impressive form when they gained their sixth straight win in a 29-13 over the Sharks on Friday evening in Buenos Aires.
In Pretoria, the Bulls were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage and lost 38-28 to the visiting Brumbies. After another round of exciting action, the Lions are still leading the South African Conference. They now have 40 points from 14 matches and eight wins.
The Jaguares have played one game less and have gathered 34 points from their eight wins so far. The Argentine side is followed by the Sharks on 28 points, the Stormers (25) and the Bulls (24).
The only local derby saw the Stormers hosting the Lions, with the Johannesburg side gaining a hard-fought 26-23 win.
Franco Mostert’s Highveld side outscored their southern rivals by four tries to two.