Cape Town - Former Sharks mentor Brendan Venter believes the Durbanites will have too much firepower for the Bulls in their Super Rugby opener in Durban on Saturday night (19:10 kick-off).
Venter, who was the mastermind behind the Sharks' Currie Cup success last year, believes it will be tough to tactically outfox his successor, Jake White
, and feels the Sharks will be too strong up front for the Bulls.
Venter said the Bulls are in a rebuilding phase and will struggle without Morné Steyn at flyhalf, while the Sharks have had the perfect preparation ahead of this year's event.
"They (Sharks) had a nice practice run against the Lions and are injury free. The Bulls lost to the Stormers and Arno Botha
(knee) is injured. I'll be surprised if the Bulls win this one," Venter told the Beeld website
Venter said the Sharks' Springbok front row of Beast Mtawarira
, Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis should "strangle the life out of the Bulls" on Saturday.
"It is the first game of the season and the humidity will make it even tougher. Both teams will realise they need to set the foundation up front."
15 Jurgen Visser
, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 J J Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson
, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Francois Hougaard
, 8 Pierre Spies
(captain), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Jono Ross
, 5 Flip vd Merwe, 4 Paul Willemse
, 3 Werner Kruger
, 2 Callie Visagie
, 1 Dean Greyling
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi
, 17 Frik Kirsten
, 18 Victor Matfield
, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Handré Pollard, 22 Ulrich Beyers
, 23 Marcel vd Merwe