Durban - Tough-as-nails Jean Deysel may be out injured, but regular skipper Keegan Daniel
is back to captain the Sharks this week as they prepare to face the Brumbies at Kings Park on Saturday.
As two of only three unbeaten teams in Super Rugby in 2013, this makes for a mouth-watering encounter. Add to this that the Brumbies will be looking for their first win over the Sharks since 2010, and it becomes clear why many are billing this as the match of the weekend.
Historically, there is almost nothing to separate the KwaZulu-Natalians and the team from Canberra. Both have beaten each other eight times and the average score in all their matches since 1998 is 25-23 to the Brumbies.
But this statistic changes dramatically in Durban, where the Sharks have lost only once out of seven previous encounters with the Brumbies, by 10-21 in 2007. The average score at Kings Park is 25-18 to the home team.
“We’re in for a massive match this weekend and so are they,” said Sharks assistant coach Hugh Reece-Edwards.
“It’s a home match for us, that’s the most important thing: the result is what it’s all about playing at home. The guys also enjoy playing international opposition and the fact that they’re on top of their conference means that we have to really focus. But the guys love the challenge and they can get easily motivated knowing they are in for a big game.
“The Brumbies show some South African styles with their driving mentality - they drive quite a bit - yet they also maintain their running patterns that they do so well. They’re the leading Australian side which shows in their log position. The way they dismantled the Waratahs
was fantastic for them and they played a great game.
“We know we have a lot of work to do, in all departments, but we’re excited, we’re playing an overseas side and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Kick-off is at 17:05 on Saturday.Teams:Sharks:
15. Louis Ludik, 14. Odwa Ndungane
, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Francois Steyn
, 11. JP Pietersen
, 10. Patrick Lambie
, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Ryan Kankowski
, 7. Keegan Daniel
(captain), 6. Marcell Coetzee
, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Anton Bresler, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Craig Burden, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Wiehahn Herbst, 18. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Cobus Reinach, 21. Meyer Bosman
, 22. Lwazi MvovoBrumbies:
15. Jesse Mogg, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Joe Tomane, 10. Matt Toomua, 9. Nic White, 8. Fotu Auelua, 7. George Smith, 6. Ben Mowen (captain), 5. Sam Carter, 4. Peter Kimlin, 3. Ben Alexander, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Scott Sio
Substitutes: 16. Siliva Siliva, 17. Ruaidhri Murphy, 18. Scott Fardy, 19. Colby Faingaa, 20. Ian Prior, 21. Robbie Coleman, 22. Clyde RathboneHAVE YOUR SAY:
Can the Sharks continue their unbeaten start to the season by beating the Brumbies on Saturday? Send your score predictions to Sport24