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    Sharks ready to kick off Du Preez era

    2017-02-23 13:15

    David Knowles

    Durban - The Sharks are all set to launch their Super Rugby season when they face the Reds in Brisbane on Friday at 11 am (SA time).

    Having been in Australia just short of a week, coach Robert du Preez said the boys had settled well, there was no jetlag and by training in the afternoons, the players had enough time to get their energy back.

    "There is plenty of energy and we have had two strong practice sessions to help us settle," he said.

    "There is a good spirit flowing through the team … a strong team spirit leads to strong team work, especially on tour and the young players have slotted in well. They feel part of the set up and are focused, knowing what lies ahead and happy to be involved."

    With the sudden death of former Wallaby Dan Vickerman at the weekend, the rugby world is saddened and no doubt his legacy will be hanging over the Australian teams this weekend. The Reds will not be easy first up and Du Preez warrants them the respect they deserve.

    "It won’t be easy by any means tomorrow and they have named a strong team. George Smith is there for them, Stephen Moore and Quade Cooper just to name a few. They mean business," he said.

    The Sharks have a familiar look without any surprises. Those who played in the two warm-up matches and many who turned out in the Currie Cup have kept their starting positions.

    "It’s important to keep that continuity going and there is not much to choose between the bench and those who are starting," said Du Preez.

    "That’s a good place to be and that’s what we want, competition to make the starting line-up."

    This will be Du Preez’s first Super Rugby match as head coach, opposite Nick Styles who is in the same position.

    Despite looking strong in the warm-up matches, this is now the real deal for the Sharks and Du Preez knows there will be some rust and slip-ups among the players.

    "This is game one of many and what counts is getting the basics right. We have a plan in mind as we go along but for now, the basics is what it’s all about," he said.

    "If that is done right, then the team will blossom. The set-pieces, the break-downs, these are important areas of the game and if we can take care of that, we will be on the right path. This team has plenty of talent."

    Teams:

    Sharks:

    15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie (captain), 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Tera Mtembu, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

    Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Clement Poitrenaud.

    Reds:

    15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 George Smith, 6 Adam Korczyk, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper (captain).

    Substitutes: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Markus Vanzati, 18 Sef Fa’agase, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Hendrik Tui, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Jake McIntyre, 23 Izaia Perese.

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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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