Beast: Sharks have the belief
Durban - Injured prop Beast Mtawarira
says the Sharks will have the belief that they can knock over the Crusaders in Saturday's Super Rugby semi-final in Christchurch after their successful overseas tour earlier in the season.
South African teams usually struggle during their travels in Australia and New Zealand, but the Sharks impressed during this year's campaign. They won three of their four tour fixtures, including victories over the Rebels (22-16), Crusaders (30-25) and Blues (29-23) in May, and still managed a losing bonus point in a tight defeat to the Brumbies (16-9).
Mtawarira noted that this success on the road will give the players major confidence, and added that Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White
has been highly influential during their success.
"The players are loving the new direction we've taken under the new management," Mtawarira told the MyPlayers website
. "With the change in culture, there's much more belief among the players.
"Credit must be given to Jake for the work he's done. He has this ability to get the best out of the guys, because of his player management and coaching style. I've really enjoyed life with Jake running things. Personally, I feel I've improved a lot this year."
Mtawarira added that he is likely to be fit for the Super Rugby final should the Sharks progress in Christchurch.
"It's been really tough watching from the sidelines, especially when one wants to be part this journey at this stage of the competition," said Mtawarira. "I'm 100% behind the guys. If the team does manage to go through, I should be fit to join the team.
"Right now, I'm just working hard in rehab, making sure I come back with a bang when I make my return to the field."
Kick-off for Saturday's game in Christchurch is scheduled for 09:35 (SA time) on Saturday morning.For more exclusive player content, check out MyPlayers.co.zaTeams:Crusaders
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Kieron Fonotia, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Tom Taylor, 23 Johnny McNichollSharks
15. SP Marais, 14. JP Pietersen
, 13. Paul Jordaan
, 12. Frans Steyn
, 11. Lwazi Mvovo
, 10. Pat Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach
, 8. Ryan Kankowski
, 7. Jean Deysel
, 6. Marcell Coetzee
, 5. Stephan Lewies
, 4. Willem Alberts
, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1. Thomas du Toit
Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper
, 17. Dale Chadwick
, 18. Lourens Adriaanse
, 19. Etienne Oosthuizen, 20. Tera Mtembu, 21. Charl McLeod, 22. S'bura Sithole, 23. Tonderai Chavhanga