Saturday night will make or break the Sharks season when they face the Jaguares in Argentina.
Losing on Saturday may be their chances lost to even make the playoffs. So calling this match a season defining match is maybe an understatement.
The Jaguares are on top of the South African conference and a win this weekend will ensure they stay there. With the last game against the Sunwolves at home the Jaguares can even get the overall second place.
In the early match this season the Jaguares humiliated the Sharks in Durban and they will be the favourites going into this game at home. They will also have the passionate support behind them to make it just that little bit more difficult.
Couch Du Preez has opted for his son Robert at flyhalf in place of Bosch who will move to fullback for this match.
This means that the impressive Fassi will have to move to the bench. Tyler Paul is also in the starting lineup inplace of Jean-Luc who is nursing a MCL injury.
This week also see Hyron Andrews staring inplace of Van Heerden in the second row.
In right respect the Jaguares has the perfect game, they have a good enough pack, brilliant on attack, solid in defence and can be deadly on the counter attack.
For a inconsistent side like the Sharks this does not spell anything well going into the match.
Let’s face it the Sharks have yet again been disappointed this season and if we are really honest, it will be a upset of they beat the Jaguares at home.
Is it impossible? Certainly not, this same side almost beat the Crusaders also on the road. They know how to beat good sides but they will have to bring it to the park in all aspects for 80 minutes or it may play out the same as in Durban a few weeks ago.
To be honest,I am not really happy with Du Preez at ten and Bosch at fullback. I am even more unhappy to see Fassi is on the bench.
It was pointed out by a friend that they may be looking to play a kicking game with Du Preez at ten this weekend, that will be a huge mistake.
The Jaguares are as good as the New Zealanders on the counter and they have the ability to break defences apart with their speed they do have on the counter attack.
The Sharks will have to not just match but dominate the home side in the set pieces. That is only the start. The will also have to dominate the collisions.
The only way to put the Jaguares on the back foot is to starved them from ball.
The last thing is the Sharks will have to play for the full 80 minutes. The Jaguares has not just got a good starting side but have a brilliant bench who has been catching teams off-guard throughout the season.
This will be a test like match for the Sharks and only the best will get them over the line.
Some Interesting Facts (OPTA)
- The Jaguares have won two of their last three matches against the Sharks (L1), after losing their first four encounters in Super Rugby history.
- The Jaguares have won seven of their last eight Super Rugby games, including their last three on the bounce.
- The Sharks have lost just one of their four games outside South Africa in Super Rugby 2019 (W2, D1), losing only to the Chiefs in that time.
- The Jaguares and Sharks have each conceded just nine clean breaks per game in Super Rugby 2019, the joint fewest in the competition alongside the ladder-leading Crusaders.
- Guido Petti Pagadizaval (Jaguares) has stolen nine lineouts this Super Rugby campaign, the joint-most of any player in the competition and three more than Sharks’ best Hyron Andrews (6).
Prediction: Jaguares are on a roll and the Sharks inconsistency just do not shout upset, Jaguares by 13
Jaguares: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente (captain), 11 Santiago Carreras, 10 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Marcos Kremer, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Agustín Creevy, 1 Mayco Vivas
Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Lucas Paulos, 20 Francisco Gorrisen, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Domingo Miotti, 23 Matias Orlando
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Mzamo Majola
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Luke Stringer, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Aphelele Fassi