I think it’s safe to say that the Jaguares gave the Sharks a run for their money last weekend. We knew this would be a tougher game, but it was a little close for comfort. I was pleased with the way the team used the driving maul to good effect, but there were definitely lessons in minimising handling errors to be learned and maximising attacking opportunities.
The Stormers on their home turf poses another challenge this weekend. Maybe it’s a good thing that the lone du Preez brother to ply his trade elsewhere, Robert, won’t be starting for the Western Cape men. The Sharks are going to need to be disciplined against a hungry Stormers side, and maintain focus and energy for the full 80 minutes if they’re going to pull it off. If they do, it’ll be an upset for the bookies, who are expecting the Stormers to win it at Newlands. I, on the other hand, will as always be backing the Sharks to win, if only by a narrow margin.
The unchanged Sharks team to face the Stormers on Saturday is:
15. Willie Le Roux, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. JP Pietersen, 10. Joe Pietersen, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Daniel du Preez, 7. Jean-Luc du Preez, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Stephan Lewies, 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Coenie Oosthuizen, 2. Franco Marais, 1. Tendai Mtawarira (Captain)
Replacements: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Juan Schoeman, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Hyron Andrews, 20. Philip van der Walt, 21. Michael Claassens, 22. Garth April, 23. S’bura Sithole
My SuperBru picks for round three are (all times shown are SA time):
Blues v Hurricanes (11 Mar 08:35) Hurricanes by 3
Force v Brumbies (11 Mar 13:05) Brumbies by 12
Highlanders v Lions (12 Mar 08:35) Lions by 5
Rebels v Reds (12 Mar 10:40) Reds by 8
Sunwolves v Cheetahs (12 Mar 12:50) Sunwolves by 3
Kings v Chiefs (12 Mar 15:00) Chiefs by 15
Stormers v Sharks (12 Mar 17:05) Sharks by 3