Vodacom Super 14

Sharks looking for 2nd win

2010-03-26 11:43
John Smit (Gallo)

Durban - An unlikely play-off berth will remain a possibility for the Sharks if they can somehow find a way to withstand the Hurricanes and pick up their second win of the season in Wellington on Saturday.

The Durban team's chances of still making it into the semi-finals are slim at best, but a hot winning streak and some favourable results from other matches could keep them in the hunt.

If they can pick up their second consecutive win against the 'Canes on Saturday, there is every possibility they could get on a roll with four of their next six games taking place at the Shark Tank after this weekend.

However, the Hurricanes must be favourites, playing at home against a weary Sharks team in week five of their tour, and if the match goes according to script for the New Zealanders, the Sharks will be out of the semi-final running once and for all.

Interestingly, coach John Plumtree has retained the same front row that performed so well against the Highlanders last weekend, with captain John Smit remaining at loosehead prop, and Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira only named on the bench.

Unfortunately, though, the Sharks will be without the experience and leadership of veteran Johann Muller, who has been ruled out of action with a finger injury, opening the door for Alistair Hargreaves to start his second Super 14 match.

The Sharks pack will certainly have their work cut out for them against the powerful Hurricanes forwards, but it will be crucial for them to lay a solid platform for the backs, who benefited from this in the second half last weekend when they got their attack going against the Highlanders.

Importantly, the backline has remained unchanged, with Englishman Andy Goode overcoming a hamstring strain to continue his partnership with Ruan Pienaar in the 9-10 axis.

Notably, young Patrick Lambie continues at fullback, and he will be looking to build on last weekend's impressive showing in what was his Super 14 debut.

The Hurricanes will be desperate to win after suffering three successive defeats on their recent South African tour, while the Sharks will know their season is as good as over should they lose this game.

It should make for an enthralling clash!

The Sharks: 15 Patrick Lambie, 14 Stefan Terblanche, 13 Adrian Jacobs, 12 Riaan Swanepoel, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 John Smit (captain).

Substitutes: 16 Tendai Mtawarira, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Rory Kockott, 21 Waylon Murray, 22 Odwa Ndungane.

Hurricanes: 15 Cory Jane, 14 Tamati Ellison, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Andre Taylor, 10 Willie Ripia, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Rodney So'oialo, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Victor Vito, 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore (captain), 1 John Schwalger.

Substitutes: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Jacob Ellison, 18 Bryn Evans, 19 Nick Crosswell, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 David Smith.

Read more on:    john plumtree  |  durban

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