Du Preez, who spent his youth career in Durban before moving to Cape Town to play for Western Province and the Stormers between 2014 and 2017, made the move back to Durban ahead of this season’s Super Rugby tournament.
Du Preez was the star of the show when Province beat the Sharks in last year’s Currie Cup Final and he will still have fresh knowledge of the inner workings of the Stormers ahead of Saturday’s clash.
“I do hope that he [Du Preez] will give us a couple of pointers that we probably wouldn’t have been able to pick up from the analysis we do,” said Sharks loose forward Philip van der Walt.
“I must be honest, we are so thorough in preparing and watching all their [Stormers] games, I doubt that there will be something that we haven’t seen, but that is the interesting part about rugby. You come up with new plans and new ideas and I think that is also where we might have slipped over the weekend [against the Bulls].
“The Bulls presented some plays and played a little bit different from what we expected from the previous games that they played.
“He [Du Preez] will definitely give us some insight, but you have to be wary of what they [Stormers] change.”
The spotlight will again be on the Sharks’ pack in the match against the Stormers. The Durban side were dominated up front against the Bulls in their 10-40 loss last week.
The Sharks were also outplayed in that facet of the game in last year’s Currie Cup Final against Province, which is still fresh in the Sharks’ memory bank.
“I think the only place where it is really on the mind is the fact that it was such a bitter pill to swallow. It was the Currie Cup Final, they were really good at scrum time, we struggled, and we want to rectify that.
“We know what is coming, especially after our performance against the Bulls pack. We as forwards know we didn’t match up to the Bulls forwards, so I think the Stormers will also feel that with the confidence they had in that Currie Cup Final they can come and scrum us and drive us and we just have to front up.
“It is pretty much an attitude thing and we are working on the technical side of it,” Van der Walt added.
For du Preez’s former team, head coach Robbie Fleck welcomes back a host of players from injury, and Sikhumbuzo Notshe is named for his first start of the season.
There are two changes to the backline with Craig Barry starting on the wing and Dillyn Leyds shifting to fullback, while a fit-again Dewaldt Duvenage replaces the injured Jano Vermaak at scrumhalf.
Utility back Johannes Engelbrecht also returns from injury to take his place among the replacements.
Stormers Head Coach Robbie Fleck said that after a much-needed bye, his team are determined to get back to winning ways on Saturday.
“The break was good for the squad from both a mental and physical perspective and we returned refreshed this week, ready to take on the second half of the campaign.
“It is great to have some players returning from injury and it has been a good week of training so we are looking forward to the weekend,” he said.
1. Juan Schoeman, 2. Chiliboy Ralepelle, 3. Thomas du Toit, 4. Ruan Botha (C), 5. Stephan Lewies, 6. Philip van der Walt, 7. Jean-Luc du Preez, 8. Daniel du Preez, 9. Cameron Wright, 10. Robert du Preez, 11. Makazole Mapimpi, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 13. Lukhanyo Am, 14. Sbu Nkosi, 15. Curwin Bosch.
Reserves: 16. Akker van der Merwe, 17. Mzamo Majola, 18. Ross Geldenhuys, 19. Tyler Paul, 20. Jacques Vermuelen, 21. Louis Schreuder, 22. Marius Louw, 23. Lwazi Mvovo.
1. Steven Kitshoff, 2. Ramone Samuels, 3. Wilco Louw, 4. Jan de Klerk, 5. Chris van Zyl, 6. Siya Kolisi (C), 7. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 9. Dewaldt Duvenhage, 10. Damian Willemse, 11. Raymond Rhule, 12. Damian de Allende, 13. EW Viljoen, 14. Craig Barry, 15. Dillyn Letds.
Reserves: 16. Scarra Ntubeni, 17. Jacobus Janse van Rensburg, 18. Carlu Sadie, 19. Kobus van Dyk, 20. Nizaam Carr, 21. Paul de Wet, 22. Sarel Marais, 23. Johannes Engelbrecht.
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