Sharks revitalised after bye week
Durban - Following a bye week, the Sharks are back in Super
Rugby action this weekend against the Lions at Kings Park.
The week off allowed for tired and bruised bodies to recover
from five weeks of tough, physical action, but now minds are focused, players
are revitalised and there is a steely determination as they prepare for another
epic derby match.
Assistant coach Robert du Preez said after training on
Monday that the players have returned to training energised after five weeks of
matches in addition to two friendlies in France.
“The guys have a spring in their step and are ready to go,”
Du Preez told the Sharks’ official website.
“They needed a break but they have a lot of energy and they
will need it to not only train well this week but also for a match against a
team that loves to run the ball. We all know what the Lions can do with ball in
hand,” he said.
Not only is there the matter of crucial log points riding on
the outcome of Saturday’s clash, but the desire to pack their bags with a
spring in the step and confidence high ahead of their overseas tour to New
“There is a lot riding on this one. We need to win before
going on what is going to be a gruelling tour and we need to play well,” Du
Preez added. “First and foremost we need the win, but it will also be a good
confidence shot if we can play good rugby as well. We have the Blues in
Auckland, the Highlanders in Dunedin and then finish against the Chiefs (in
Hamilton). That is a very tough tour and it will help tremendously if we get on
the plane having won well. It would set the tone for the tour.”
Du Preez expects a big match on Saturday.
“This game is going to be a spectacle, that is for sure, but
vital for us. We are at home, we are coming off a home loss to the Crusaders,
and the game will determine which team goes top of our pool. Games against
teams in your pool carry added value.”
The Lions have enjoyed continuity over the last few years as
far as playing and coaching personnel and that is reflected in the team’s good
start to this year’s campaign.
“The Lions have been the form team in the Currie Cup over
the last two years and they have continued that form into Super Rugby this
year. They have been very impressive.”
Philip van der Walt, who started the last match - against
the Crusaders - has not recovered from a neck injury sustained in that game but
the good news is that both Etienne Oosthuizen and Lwazi Mvovo have recovered
from the knocks they took and are available for selection. Daniel du Preez also
suffered a niggle but is back and likely to replace van der Walt.
Director of rugby Gary Gold will announce a 27-man touring
squad on Friday.