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    Gold: We can't defend for 80 minutes

    2016-04-21 11:11

    Cape Town - The Sharks are desperate to turn their Super Rugby season around against the Highlanders on Friday. 

    Having gone four matches without a win, the Sharks will be looking for an accurate, determined performance in their clash with the reigning champions.

    While it is not going to be easy against the champs, they know what is needed and have identified the areas that they will look to be more clinical in.

    "It’s been tricky with the short turnaround because we have fewer training days, but the things that went wrong for us (against the Blues) are things we believe we can fix," Director of Rugby Gary Gold told the Sharks website.

    "We missed a couple of critical lineouts and there were some opportunities on attack where we didn’t look after the ball well enough, and when you’re playing a team of the Highlanders’ calibre, if you don’t look after the ball or turn it over, they are a team that will hurt you."

    Gold admitted that the focus is on making sure that what they do with the ball brings reward.

    "Our decision-making is going to be critically important; when we do receive the ball, we need to capitalise on that. It’s important that we manage the possession we get, and hopefully hold on to the ball for quite a few phases," he said.

    And holding on to the ball means their attack needs to not only function, but for long periods of time. And being on attack brings excited energy.

    Defending saps that energy and Gold admitted that more balance is on the cards.

    "We can’t defend for 80 minutes, we have to take our opportunities, and we have to ask questions of them," said Gold.

    "We want to start well and put pressure on them to chase the game, we want to take them out of their comfort zone because they’re not used to chasing the game. Strategically, it’s really important to start well against the Kiwi teams."

    Kick-off in Dunedin on Friday is at 09:35 SA time.

    Teams:

    Highlanders

    15. Ben Smith (co-captain), 14. Matt Faddes, 13. Malakai Fekitoa, 12. Jason Emery, 11. Jack Wilson, 10. Lima Sopoaga, 9. Aaron Smith, 8. Liam Squire, 7. Shane Christie (co-captain), 6. Elliot Dixon, 5. Joe Wheeler, 4. Tom Franklin, 3. Josh Hohneck, 2. Ash Dixon, 1. Daniel Lienert-Brown

    Substitutes: 16. Liam Coltman, 17. Craig Millar, 18. Ross Geldenhuys, 19. Alex Ainley, 20. Dan Pryor, 21. Fumiaki Tanaka, 22. Hayden Parker, 23. Patrick Osborne

    Sharks

    15. Willie le Roux, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. JP Pietersen, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Garth April, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Philip van der Walt, 7. Jean-Luc du Preez, 6. Keegan Daniel, 5. Stephan Lewies, 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Coenie Oosthuizen, 2. Franco Marais, 1. Tendai Mtawarira (captain)

    Substitutes: 16. Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17. Thomas du Toit, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Hyron Andrews, 20. Jean Deysel, 21. Michael Claassens, 22. Joe Pietersen, 23. S’bura Sithole

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    Fixtures

    Saturday, 17 February 2018
    • Stormers v Jaguares, Cape Town 15:05
    • Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
    Friday, 23 February 2018
    • Highlanders v Blues, 08:35
    • Rebels v Reds, AAMI Park 10:45
    Saturday, 24 February 2018
    • Sunwolves v Brumbies, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Chiefs, 08:35
    • Waratahs v Stormers, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Lions v Jaguares, Emirates Airlines Park 15:05
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 17:15

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