Sharks to break Sydney duck?
Cape Town - Historically speaking, the Sharks face their toughest Australian challenge when they take on the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.
Out of all five Australian Super Rugby franchises, the Sharks have the worst record against the Waratahs. The team from Durban have only won 27% of their matches against the New South Welshmen, or four out of 15 encounters.
That doesn’t compare well with their winning percentages against the Reds (45%), Brumbies (48%), Force (83%) or Rebels (100%). In their eight matches in Sydney since 1998, The Sharks have only won once, way back in 2000 (26-19).
Coach John Plumtree realises his team doesn’t have a great record in Sydney and admits it’s something they have discussed.
However, the KwaZulu-Natalians have won their last two Super Rugby encounters, while the Waratahs have won only one of their four matches thus far this season, including losing at home against the Reds and the Force, who shocked them 21-20 last weekend.
“We just need to put emphasis on making sure we don’t get distracted while we’re here, that rugby is the reason why we’re here, winning is why we’re here. That we really focus this week on having as good as possible build-up to Saturday,” said Plumtree.
“The Waratahs have always been difficult to beat in Sydney, but as the Force showed against them, it’s not an impossible task. They will be pretty focused on Saturday, they will be desperate not to drop a second home game. It’s going to be a tough encounter, but we’ve got to put in a performance we’re proud of.”
15 Bernard Foley, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Tom Carter 11 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson (captain)
Substitutes (from): John Ulugia, Paddy Ryan, Sitaleki Timani, Lopeti Timani, Jono Jenkins, Sarel Pretorius, Daniel Halangahu, Peter Betham, Brackin Kauraria-Henry
15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Jandre Marais, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Dale Chadwick
Substitutes: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Nick Schonert, 18 Steven Sykes, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Frederic Michalak, 21 Marius Joubert, 22 Louis Ludik