The Sharks team named to take on the Jaguares in Saturday’s Super Rugby return leg match will have studied their opponent’s recent form with great care, acknowledging just how big a challenge lies in wait.
Daniel du Preez who achieved the milestone of 50 caps against the Hurricanes last week admits that, “It’s been a huge honour playing for this team, I’ve made some great friends over the past few years.”
He acknowledges that there are areas of the game that cost his team last weekend and which they will have focused on not repeating this week.
“We made a few crucial errors against the Hurricanes and they put us under pressure defensively. We didn’t make our first-time tackles and didn’t keep the ball when we needed to so we couldn’t build pressure.”
The first round match against the Jaguares in Durban kicked off a very good run of form for the Argentinean side and the big, abrasive number eight admits that it was a match the Sharks will need to take cognisance of to ensure they don’t repeat the mistakes made.
“I definitely don’t think we pitched up on that day, once again didn’t look after the ball, didn’t build any scoreboard pressure and they gave us a big hiding. This Saturday we expect a massive battle, akin to test match rugby and we’re looking forward to it.
“They have a few dangerous players, both in the forwards and the backs, they live off mistakes, so we know we have to look after the ball this week.”
He was in the Sharks team that won in Argentina two years ago and knows what it’s going to take to emulate that formidable achievement once more.
“It’s very tough conditions to play in, the crowd are very passionate and it’s the closest we’ll get to playing a test match in this competition so we’re looking forward to the battle.
“It is a difficult challenge, they would have taken a lot of confidence from their three out of four wins on tour, so we’ll have to be up for the challenge.”
The team for this week has stayed relatively the same with just a few rotational changes and one injury enforced change. Jean-Luc du Preez has an MCL niggle and will be returning home. Tyler Paul takes his place in the starting line-up with Luke Stringer named on the bench. The other change on the bench is Jeremy Ward who replaces Kobus van Wyk.
Sharks: Curwin Bosch, Sbu Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am, Andre Esturheizen, Makazole Mapimpi, Robert du Preez, Louis Schreuder (c), Daniel du Preez, Tyler Paul, Jacques Vermeulen, Ruan Botha, Hyron Andrews, Coenie Oosthuizen, Kerron van Vuuren, Mzamo Majola. Reserves: Craig Burden, Juan Schoeman, Thomas du Toit, Ruben van Heerden, Luke Stringer, Zee Mkhabele, Jeremy Ward, Aphelele Fassi.
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