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    Sharks tour starts with 'tough' Brumbies

    2018-03-14 14:42

    Lloyd Burnard

    Cape Town - The Sharks start a four-week long Australasian tour with a Super Rugby clash against the Brumbies in Canberra this weekend - and coach Robert du Preez is expecting it to be massive.

    The Brumbies, at home for the first time this season, have much to prove. 

    Under new head coach Dan McKellar, the 2001 and 2004 tournament champions have lost back-to-back Australian derbies against the Reds (18-10) and Rebels (33-10). 

    Their only win of 2018 came in their opening fixture when they battled to a 32-25 win against the Sunwolves in Tokyo. 

    The Sharks, meanwhile, are looking to ignite their own season. 

    Having challenged the Lions before falling just short in Johannesburg (26-19) in week one, the Durbanites then imploded at Kings Park to let the Waratahs back in for a late draw (24-24). 

    Like the Brumbies, the Sharks' only win this season came against the Sunwolves when they hammered the Japanese outfit 50-22 in Durban last weekend. 

    Saturday's clash is an opportunity for both sides to get their respective seasons heading in the right direction. 

    The scoreboard suggests that the Brumbies were terrible against the Rebels and that they are there for the taking, but Du Preez has analysed that game closely and he believes that it could have been a very different story had a couple of things gone the Brumbies' way. 

    "We shouldn't be reading too much into that loss ... it's going to be a very tough game in Canberra," Du Preez said.

    "They obviously have to get their campaign on the road and for us it's really important that we start our tour well."

    Du Preez says that the Brumbies are looking to be slightly more expansive under McKellar than they were under Larkham, but he identifies the rolling maul as the major threat going into Saturday.

    "They probably play a little bit more than they have in the past ... they're not scared to run the ball out of their own territory," Du Preez explained.

    "If you give them any opportunities or scraps they will pounce on it. We're going to have to be on top of our own game to make sure we control it ... we need to dominate their pack. That's where it all starts for us ... we need to be physical."

    The Sharks welcome back the bruising Jean-Luc du Preez from an ankle injury for the tour, though it is not clear if he will feature on Saturday. 

    Young Wian Vosloo is also included having made his debut against the Sunwolves, meaning that Sharks veteran Keegan Daniel is overlooked.

    "We've always said that we're going to select the team on merit," Du Preez explained.

    "Wian did a really good job for us on Saturday in his debut game and I'm very happy with how he performed. Jean-Luc is on his way back from injury so that was a natural choice for us."

    Saturday's match kicks off at 10:45 (SA time).

    Sharks 27-man touring squad:

    Forwards

    Akker van der Merwe, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Franco Marais, Hyron Andrews, Jacques Vermeulen, Jean-Luc du Preez, John-Hubert Meyer, Juan Schoeman, Ruan Botha, Stephan Lewies, Tendai Mtawarira, Tera Mtembu, Thomas du Toit, Tyler Paul, Wian Vosloo

    Backs

    Andre Esterhuizen, Cameron Wright, Curwin Bosch, Garth April, Kobus van Wyk, Louis Schreuder, Lukhanyo Am, Lwazi Mvovo, Makazole Mapimpi, Marius Louw, Robert du Preez, Sbu Nkosi

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    Friday, 25 May 2018
    • Crusaders v Hurricanes, AMI Stadium 09:35
    • Rebels v Sunwolves, AAMI Park 11:45
    • Jaguares v Sharks, Estadio Jose Amalfitani 21:40
    Saturday, 26 May 2018
    • Chiefs v Waratahs, FMG Stadium Waikato 09:35
    • Reds v Highlanders, Suncorp Stadium 11:45
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    • Highlanders v Hurricanes, Forsyth Barr Stadium 09:35

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