Their team

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MIKE GREENAWAY

THE COM­PLETE line-up for the Su­per Rugby quar­ter-fi­nals will only be de­cided af­ter the very last match of this weekend’s fi­nal round of the com­pe­ti­tion, when the Sharks host the Lions, and one of the fas­ci­nat­ing per­mu­ta­tions is that it could be in the Sharks’ in­ter­ests to lose the match.

And with the Dur­ban en­counter be­ing the last fix­ture, both teams will know ex­actly what is at stake.

Ac­cord­ing to backs coach Sean Everett, the Sharks’ ap­proach to the game is to ig­nore per­mu­ta­tions and to give it the horns against the Lions in a bid to es­tab­lish some form and mo­men­tum ahead of the quar­ters. The last time the Sharks played, they lost to the Bulls in Dur­ban in a dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance.

“It was not ideal for us to have a bye af­ter one match (the Bulls) hav­ing just had a month off (for the June in­ter­na­tion­als), so our fo­cus in this match is very much on per­for­mance so that we have some form go­ing into the quar­ters,” Everett said. “We want to play well and get back to win­ning ways. That is what this game is about, re­gard­less of re­sults ear­lier in the day.”

Coach Robert du Preez will have added op­tions when he se­lects his team be­cause of the re­turn to fit­ness of wings Lwazi Mvovo and Kobus van Wyk. The Sharks are just about at full strength, the ab­sen­tees be­ing Tendai Mtawarira (neck) and Ruan Botha (sus­pended).

Everett said the Sharks play­ers are eager for battle this week against the form South African team.

“The Lions are com­ing to Dur­ban with a must-win at­ti­tude, so we know what to ex­pect from them and we will be up for it,” Everett said.

“They are cer­tainly set­ting the bench­mark ... We want to mea­sure our­selves against the best, and the play­ers got stuck in at train­ing last week. There is no need to talk about mo­ti­va­tion! We had some re­ally good ses­sions in try­ing to rec­tify where we went wrong against the Bulls,” he said.

Af­ter that shock loss, a miffed Du Preez said there had been a lack of ur­gency in his team’s per­for­mance.

“The play­ers have cer­tainly been re­minded that there is con­se­quence for lack of ef­fort. Our prob­lem this whole year has been con­sis­tency. We play against weaker op­po­si­tion and strug­gle, then play top teams and win. The young­sters have to un­der­stand that there truly is no easy game and we can’t come out of the blocks slowly, no mat­ter who we are play­ing,” Everett said. STORM­ERS for­wards coach Rus­sell Win­ter says the Bulls will pose the per­fect chal­lenge for a Storm­ers side eager to get their quar­ter-fi­nal prepa­ra­tions right.

The Storm­ers will travel to Lof­tus for the last group-stage game on Satur­day be­fore they host ei­ther the Hur­ri­canes or the Chiefs at New­lands the fol­low­ing week. And al­though it has been a rough sea­son for Nol­lis Marais and his team, Win­ter said that they were still ex­pect­ing their old ri­vals to “bring it”.

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