Sharks banking on pre-season prep for fitness on tour
Cape Town - The Sharks are banking on their intense pre-season giving them the edge on their tour to New Zealand and Australia, which starts on Friday with a clash against the Highlanders in Dunedin.
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One of the most noticeable factors from the Durbanites' 23-15 win over the Bulls at Kings Park in week one was how well they finished the contest, scoring late through replacement scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba to put the game to bed.
According to head coach Sean Everitt, the ability to find something extra towards the back-end of a match is a direct result of the work put in during pre-season.
"There is a good vibe in the team and that obviously contributes towards that, but we mustn't underestimate how much work they've put in," he said.
"With our long off-season, it was really tough for them and they admitted it was possibly the hardest pre-season they have had.
"The challenge for us now is to make sure we maintain those levels of fitness while we're in competition."
The Sharks take on the Highlanders, Hurricanes, Rebels and Reds over the next four weekends on what promises to be a testing tour.
Everitt, though, believes his side is well prepared.
"The Highlanders have had two games. They played the Crusaders and the Waratahs and we've had a look at them. They're no different to other Kiwi teams," he said.
"They play with high intensity, they're direct and they move the ball around a lot."
Kick-off on Friday is at 08:05 (SA time).
15 Josh McKay, 14 Tima Fainga’anuku, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Josh Ioane, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Marino Mikaele Tu’u, 7 James Lentjes (captain), 6 Dillon Hunt, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Pari Pari Parkinson, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone
Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Josh Iosefa-Scott, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Michael Collins, 23 Teariki Ben-Nicholas