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    Du Preez: Super Rugby tougher this year than last

    2018-05-10 17:01

    Durban - Sharks coach Robert du Preez believes that Super Rugby is a tougher competition in 2018 compared to what it was last year.

    The Sharks are in the middle of a huge playoff scrap in the South African Conference, with Saturday's clash against the Bulls at Loftus the next chapter. 

    The Durbanites are 3rd in the Conference on 23 points but are just three points ahead of the Bulls in 5th. 

    With six rounds of fixtures remaining for both sides, the heat is on. 

    The Jaguares, meanwhile, have been the surprise package of the tournament having won all four of their matches on their Australasian tour. 

    The Argentinians currently occupy 2nd in the SA Conference, and Du Preez says he can see a noticeable difference in the quality of the 2018 edition of Super Rugby compared to 2017.

    "That pressure is just massive," he said of the Conference derbies this year.

    "The quality of the competition is just so much better than last year.

    "There are no easy games. Anything can happen on the day, so you've got to be really on top of your game every week to win."

    The Sharks turned out their performance of the year last weekend when they thrashed the Highlanders 38-12 in Durban, and while Du Preez would like his side to build on that display, a win is the most important thing on Saturday.

    "If you have a performance like we did last week, then that helps. We want to play good rugby, but we don't care how we win and winning is the most important thing," he said.

    "You've got to treat it as a final. Every game is massive for us right now."

    The last time the sides met, the Bulls embarrassed the Sharks at Kings park when they emerged 40-10 winners. 

    The return fixture, substitute scrumhalf Louis Schreuder says, has nothing to do with revenge.

    "Last time out it was obviously disappointing getting 40 on our home field," he said.

    "We know what happened and we know what we need to work on, but it's not about redemption for us. We need to win every game now and every game is as important as the next one."

    Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:15.

    Teams:

    Bulls

    15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Johnny Kotze, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Marco van Staden, 7 Jason Jenkins, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Lizo GqobokaSubstitutes: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Frans van Wyk/Nqoba Mxoli, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Nic de Jager, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw

    Sharks

    15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira 

    Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Wian Vosloo, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Lwazi Mvovo

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