Sharks coach expects pack to dominate
Cape Town - There is obviously a huge emphasis on the shift towards 'skills first' among the South African Super Rugby sides, but the importance of the work done up front remains crucial to any side's success.
You cannot play with the ball unless you secure it first, and it is there where the battle of the set piece and the contests in close contact become crucial.
For new Sharks coach Robert du Preez, that is an area where the Sharks should be successful in Super Rugby 2017.
The Sharks have kept the majority of their pack from 2016 for the new season.
They have lost a massive player in the form of Marcell Coetzee, but he was injured for most of the 2016 season anyway.
Looking at the personnel making up his pack, Du Preez said the Sharks could have no excuses.
"With the pack that we've assembled, with the likes of Lourens (Adriaanse), Beast (Mtawarira) and Jean-Luc (Du Preez), we should be very dominant," Du Preez said.
"There should be no reason why we're not."
Du Preez was also "excited" by the prospect of new signing Jacques Vermeulen, who joins from Western Province.
Vermeulen has represented SA Schools and SA Under-20 and, at just 21, is one to watch for the future.