Family loyalties: Sharks coach Du Preez stuck in tricky predicament ahead of tour
Sharks head coach Robert du Preez has a tricky situation on his hands as his side prepares to jet off to Christchurch for the second leg of their three-match Australasian tour.
There they will meet the table-topping Crusaders, who are in red-hot form as they eye a third successive Super Rugby crown.
While that in itself presents a monumental task, Du Preez has to make what could be a tough call on who to start first-five after Curwin Bosch’s scintillating display during his side’s 23-15 win over the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.
The 21-year-old was in top form for the Durban club as he started in the No. 10 jersey for the first time this season, helping his side pick apart their New South Wales opponents at the newly-built Bankwest Stadium.
His performance, which carries on his good recent form from fullback, leaves du Preez in a difficult position regarding his son and incumbent first-five, Robert du Preez Jr.
Prior to the appointment of Bosch at first-five, Du Preez Jr, who had started in every fixture for the Sharks this season until Saturday’s clash, had led the Sharks to back-to-back losses to the Jaguares and Reds in a pair of underwhelming displays.
While the contrasting form of the two players indicates that Bosch should maintain the starting role, it leaves Du Preez in an awkward conundrum leading into what’s set to be an incredibly hard fixture against the back-to-back reigning champions this week.
“Curwin played really well,” Du Preez said before being asked if he would continue to leave his son on the bench.
“We’ll see … we’ll take it each game at a time.”
Du Preez also praised the work of his forwards, whose job was made easier by the sending off of No. 8 Michael Wells, and then the sin binning of flanker Jack Dempsey.
“The boys were outstanding today. The forwards were magnificent,” he said.
“The Waratahs are a very good team and they’re very dangerous. We knew that we had to get the upper hand up front.
“In the game against the Reds we created some opportunities that we didn’t take. It’s been the story of our season so far, but we had a very good week in Sydney and the boys were very keen to come back with a win tonight.”
Now with five wins and 26 points to their name, the Sharks sit second on the overall standings and are on top of the heavily-congested South African conference, with just four points separating them from the bottom-placed Lions.
Watch – Robert du Preez and Louis Schreuder discuss Sharks win over Waratahs:
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