Cape Times

Will it be a quarter-final match in New Zealand for the Sharks?

- Mike Greenaway

DURBAN: The Sharks will bust their “Bulls” when they take on the Pretoria men at Kings Park tomorrow night in a Super Rugby match the hosts must harvest five log points from to stand a chance of playing a quarter-final in South Africa.

The Sharks can sneak into a play-off in Joburg against the Lions if they earn maximum points from their final two matches — the Bulls tomorrow and then the Lions, both at Kings Park.

“As it stands, it looks like we are playing a quarter-final in New Zealand, but you never know how things will turn out over the next fortnight because if we get 10 points and the Crusaders lose to the Hurricanes, we could suddenly be playing against the Lions at Ellis Park, and we would fancy our chances of winning there as against travelling for the best part of two days to an encounter in New Zealand,” said Sharks coach Robert du Preez.

The only thing the Sharks can influence is who they pick to play this weekend and there is a noticeable absence of Springboks who played against France.

“Players such as Jean-Luc du Plessis and Beast Mtawarira are sore and need a break,” the coach said. They are carrying minor injuries, according to the coach, and cannot be risked, while there are players fresh and raring to go.In-form lock Ruan Botha is another out of the frame because of the red card he incurred playing for SA A against the French Barbarians last week.

Coach Du Preez has decided to go with Garth April at flyhalf for this must-win game and picked Curwin Bosch at fullback, but many would suggest that it should be the other way around.

“Look, there are players we cannot pick because of injury. They are wing Kobus van Wyk, outside centre Lukhanyo Am and Lwazi Mvovo, and then there are players coming back from injury that are not ready yet.”

Impressive centre Johan Deysel is out for three months after breaking an arm in a Namibia World Cup qualifying match against Spain last week.

Regarding the choice of April at No10 ahead of Bosch, Du Preez said: “Garth did very well for us in that emphatic win against the Stormers. He attacked the gain line and defended so well that we have rewarded him, while Curwin is equally happy at 15, where he has been exceptiona­l for us.”

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