Set-piece, discipline key for Sharks
Cape Town - The Sharks will be desperate to get back to winning ways when they take on the Blues in Auckland on Saturday morning.
Back-to-back losses against the Crusaders and then the Lions - both in Durban - have brought the Durbanites crashing back down to earth after what was a largely impressive start to the season.
Now, having slipped out of the playoff places, the Sharks have it all to do as they begin their three-week long tour of New Zealand with fixtures against the Highlanders and Chiefs still to come.
For coach Gary Gold, who has made three changes to last week’s team, the set-piece and discipline are two areas the Sharks will look to be accurate in this week.
"It’s vital for us it to try get some parity at scrum times," he told the official Sharks website.
"It’s really important from that point of view to give ourselves enough opportunity to be able to launch attacks against them. We need to be a lot neater and accurate at set-piece time, we need to get a lot more set-piece ball.
"And we’ve spoken long and hard about our discipline, we can’t give penalties away."
Gold was also mindful of the dangers posed by the three time champion Blues (1996, 1997 and 2003).
"They have some massive ball carriers up front, a good set-piece and some electric backs who are renowned steppers who use the width of the field very well," he said.
"They will pose a massive challenge for us and we’ll have to have our wits about us to be able to deal with their attacking game."
15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Rieko Ioane, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Tanerau Latimer/Kara Pryor, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Hoani Matenga, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Sam Prattley.
Substitutes: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Namatahi Waa, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Kara Pryor/Joe Edwards, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 George Moala
15. Willie le Roux, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Joe Pietersen, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Philip van der Walt, 7. Jean-Luc du Preez, 6. Daniel du Preez, 5. Stephan Lewies, 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Lourens Adriaanse, 2. Franco Marais, 1. Tendai Mtawarira (captain)
Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Thomas du Toit, 18. Coenie Oosthuizen, 19. Hyron Andrews, 20. Keegan Daniel, 21. Michael Claassens, 22. Garth April, 23. Odwa Ndungane