It is a massive week for the Cell C Sharks and coach Robert Du Preez after the embarrassment of last week.
There are actually no words to describe the disappointment of the Sharks performance or rather lack there off against the Jaguares.
With them still having to tour the next few matches have become very important if they want to stay in the hunt.
The biggest problem has been and still is the inconsistency week in and week out. You can not want to be consider a contender in this competition when you only perform every two weeks.
Coach Du Preez brought back Coenie Oosthuizen and Tendai Beast Mtawarira in his front row.
Schoeman and Du Toit moves to the bench Kerron van Vuuren that will take up his spot at hooker.
The other change sees Du Preez going with Luke Stringer with Jacques Vermeulen taking a rest.
In the backs Kobus van Dyk replace Lukhanyo Am and will form a new partnership in the midfield with Andre Esterhuizen.
Mvovo moves to the wing in place off Mapimpi. Nkosi alos return to the side on the other wing.
Both Am and Mapimpi are getting a rest this weekend.
There is a short turnaround week for the team because of the Friday game and assistant coach van Straaten admitted that it was important to get over the disappointment of the Jaguares game and focus on the Reds.
“We’re going to have to be really, really on top of our game. They’re a good side, coached by an ex-All Black and they’re a tough side to break down. We will be up for the challenge.”
The Reds are starting to look desperate sitting last on the overall log with five losses out of eight matches.
They were outdone last week by the Bulls and were never really in the match.
This weekend they will also find a Sharks team hurting and this may not be good news for the Reds.
They will have to step up with their pack against the Sharks who will come out firing. Winning set pieces will be crucial as both sides have some game breakers at the the backs.
We see three changes to the side from last week with Naivalu who is back on the wing.
Hoopert will earn his first start wihile Angus Scott-Young will wear the number six jumper.
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto will move back to lock to partner Izack Rodda in the second row.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “We’ve arrived in Durban in preparation for a tough challenge in playing the Sharks.
“After last week’s result, they’ll be hungry and looking to put in a big performance in front of their home fans.
“It’s great to have Sefa back. He was missed last week. After sitting out against the Bulls, he’s ready to rip in.
“Apart from Scott Higginbotham, the starting forward pack all played Queensland U20s with each other. They’ve all worked and grown together since then. It goes to show the strength and importance of the Queensland pathway,” said Thorn.
Some Interesting Facts (OPTA)
- The Sharks have won eight of their last 11 Super Rugby encounters with the Reds (L3), each of those wins have seen them score 21 points or more against the Queenslanders
- The Sharks have won 21 of their last 26 Super Rugby home games against Australian opposition (D2, L3), going undefeated in the last 10 fixtures of that span (W8, D2).
- The Reds are pursuing a Super Rugby win in South Africa for the first time since Round 10 2015 (v Cheetahs), they haven’t toppled an existing South African club since Round 8 2011 against the Stormers.
- April 2004 was the last time the Reds triumphed in Super Rugby visiting the Sharks, three of the Reds’ four away wins against the Sharks have come by a single point.
- Samu Kerevi (Reds) and Daniel du Preez (Sharks) have carried the ball the most often in Super Rugby 2019, with 108 and 96 carries respectively.
Prediction: Sharks to come right again, Sharks by 15
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Kobus van Wyk, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Fez Mbatha, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Tyler Paul, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Aphelele Fassi
Reds: 15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Sefa Naivalu , 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi (captain), 11 Jack Hardy, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 Harry Hoopert
Replacements: 16 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 17 JP Smith, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Adam Korczyk, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23 Jock Campbell