Super Rugby

Sharks unchanged for Crusaders quarter-final

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Sharks Super rugby head coach Robert du Preez has named a completely unchanged match 23 for their Super Rugby quarter-final clash with the Crusaders with the Crusaders.

The Sharks beat the Jaguares in Durban last weekend which earned them a place in the knock-out stage and a date against the top of the table Crusaders.

Assistant coach Dick Muir, speaking from the team’s base in Christchurch ahead of Saturday morning’s match explained that, “There’s a lot of excitement, the team had a long haul getting to Christchurch, but everyone is in good spirits. We’re coming off a good win and the team is ready to have a go.”

As we’ve seen this year, particularly against the New Zealand sides as well as last week when backs were against the wall, the big games have brought out the best in the Sharks this season and Muir expects nothing different on Saturday against the Crusaders.

“Absolutely, they have the players, but our expectations are pretty high as we get to the business end of the competition. Not too many people are giving us a chance so it’s a great opportunity to prove them wrong.”

Not that this is the motivation, but certainly a Sharks win would be an upset, given the fact that the favourites’ tag is firmly on the shoulders of the Crusaders.

“The Crusaders have made their presence felt in the competition,” Muir said of their opponents.

The Crusaders won 14 of the 16 games in the regular season and finished the pool stages of the tournament with 12 log points more than the nearest rivals, the Hurricanes.

“They’ve played a brand of rugby that has brought them a lot of success and we’re respectful of that.”

Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira will play his 150th Super game in a Sharks jersey. He holds the record for being the most capped Super Rugby player for a single province and is just behind Adriaan Strauss, who holds the overall record as the most capped South African Super Rugby player with 156 caps.

Sharks

15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira

Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Wian Vosloo, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Makazole Mapimpi

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