The Sharks have a great change this weekend to make the wrongs right from last weeks lost against the Reds when they face the Brumbies in week two of Super Rugby.
The Brumbies is no pushover and they will be difficult to stop at home but so early in the season it is usually the best time to upset big teams. Du Preez has made two changes to his starting lineup with Lewies coming in to replace Etienne Oostuizen and at fullback Poitrenaud will swap places with Bosch who will move to the bench for Saturdays match.
Head coach Robert du Preez had hinted this week that there might be a change or two from last week’s line-up against the Reds.
“The boys are in good spirits, we’ve had a good training week and our focus will be on our discipline and on our exit – we need to get more territory on our exits,” Du Preez said.
“The Brumbies are probably better organised defensively than the Reds, and as an all-round team they’re well coached by Stephen Larkham. It’s going to be a tough one in a tough environment.”
“Etienne Oosthuizen is a big loss but we have a very good replacement in Stephan Lewies. Our squad depth is really important and the guys that come into the starting line-up have to use their opportunity.”
Last week’s centurion, Lwazi Mvovo, admits that while they have done their homework on their opponents, it’s really about making sure they accomplish their own goals.
“The Brumbies are a quality side and they played very well against the Crusaders, but it’s more about what we want to do and about executing our game plan,” he said.
“This is a very important game for us, we have a plan for this tour and we pretty much want to win this match, so it’s about getting our game plan right and getting over the little hurdle we had in the first game. We really want to end the tour on a high note.”
The Brumbies however have kept faith in the starting team of last week which lost to the Crusaders. This week they are at home and will be a total different team when they face the Sharks.
The battle of the front rows should be an absorbing contest as well with Wallaby star Allan Alaalatoa coming up against South African Tendai Mtawarira with the scrum battle set to be extremely important in setting any foundations for dominant possession.
This is where the game will be won or lost and an area which the Sharks also struggled last week. Both teams have exciting runners in the back but without good forward ball they struggle as most teams.
Discipline could be key with Sharks Patrick Lambie a deadly presence with the boot. As such the Brumbies defence, which was led by an outstanding Scott Fardy against the Crusaders, will need to be at their most vigilant and decisive best. Fardy continues in the backrow alongside Alcock and Jordan Smiler.
Predictions: The Sharks do not loose to many games on tour and although they were not at their best last week they did show the signs of a good team. This will be a close one and this week I tip it towards the Brumbies by 6
Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Jordan Smiler, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Nic Mayhew
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Lolo Fakaosilea, 21 De Wet Roos, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Isaac Thompson
Sharks: 15 Clement Poitrenaud, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie (captain), 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Tera Mtembu, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Repacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Jean Droste, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Curwin Bosch
Vodacom Super Rugby Log
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