Sharks braced for huge challenge
Sharks coach Gary Gold is expecting a physical battle in
Sydney against the Waratahs on Saturday (11:40 kick-off, SA time).
On Thursday Gold named an unchanged starting line-up from
the side that lost to Hurricanes last weekend, keeping faith in the players were
part of that much-improved display.
But Saturday will be just as tough for the Durban side.
While they have seen their playoff aspirations disappear, the ‘Tahs are very
much in the hunt – seventh on the overall log going into the weekend and
desperate to overhaul the Brumbies as Australian conference leaders.
“They’re a very physical team, probably the most physical
Australian team,” said Gold.
“And then the likes of Beale, Folau and Ashley-Cooper – they
have some fantastic play-makers in the backline.”
“A big strong pack but they move the ball well so we’re
going to have to get our defensive shape right. Their front row has played
probably 80 or 90 times together and all of them Wallabies,” Gold added.
“They’re a formidable team, one through 15, they’re a
well-balanced team and threats everywhere; this is possibly our toughest
challenge to date.”
While it has been a season to forget for the Sharks, Gold
said that he could not ask for more from his players in terms of effort, especially
in their eight point loss to the Hurricanes.
“I genuinely believe we are working harder now, week on
week. I have to highly commend the professionalism of this group,” he said.
“They’re hurting terribly – we all are – no-one ever wants
to be in this position.”
“I’d like us to break our losing streak while we’re on the
road, especially against a team like the Waratahs. We’re going to come out
15. Lwazi Mvovo, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. JP Pietersen, 12. Frans Steyn, 11. S'bura Sithole, 10. Lionel Cronje, 9. Stefan Ungerer, 8. Renaldo Bothma, 7. Etienne Oosthuizen, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Marco Wentzel (captain), 4. Stephan Lewies, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Franco Marais, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Lourens Adriaanse , 19. Mouritz Botha, 20. Kyle Cooper, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Andre Esterhuizen, 23. Waylon Murray