Durban - The Sharks team that beat Leinster last week has been retained en masse for Saturday’s visit of another Irish team, Connacht, as the Sharks look to keep up their momentum into the United Rugby Championship playoffs.
It is a case of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ for coach Sean Everitt who is looking for a fourth consecutive win at Hollywoodbets Kings Park before his team finishes off their campaign away to yet another Irish team, Ulster.
Everitt has been able to settle on a team thanks to a superb sequence of seven wins from their last eight games, the only blip being the defeat in the rain to Edinburgh.
The Sharks are in fourth place with two rounds remaining and captain Thomas du Toit says they are pushing hard for a home playoff.
“We're not simply aiming to be in the top eight, we're looking for a home quarter-final,” a confident Du Toit said. “We'll treat each game as if it's our last game and the only opportunity we're going to get, so the focus on each game is massive.
“We're treating each game like a final and the value of a home quarter-final can't be underestimated. We're playing for that."
Du Toit said the Sharks are expecting a free-flowing game from Connacht.
“Munster, Leinster, and Ulster have similar attacking and defensive patterns, whereas Connacht play a freer style of rugby. The other three have more structure, but Connacht is the more physical side, if not one of the most physical sides in the competition.
“Connacht is well prepared and well-coached and it’s going to be a big challenge for us.”
Sharks – 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Thomas du Toit (c), 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Jeandre Labuschagne, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Boeta Chamberlain.