20 April 2018

South Africa: Stormers - Sharks in the Same Boat As Us

Derbies between the Sharks and Stormers are always spicy, but this Saturday's Super Rugby clash at Kings Park even more so.

That is down to the fact that both sides are struggling for Super Rugby survival in 2018.

The tournament is only at its half-way stage, but already there is the danger of the play-offs slipping away for both sides.

The Sharks have won just two of their eight fixtures so far this season and are in 3rd position in the South African Conference and 10th on the overall log.

The Stormers, meanwhile, have won three of their eight but still find themselves a point behind the Sharks - 4th in the SA Conference and 11th overall.

With the top eight sides on the combined log all qualifying for quarter-finals this year, there is still a lot to be decided.

But neither side can afford another slip-up this weekend.

According to Stormers coach Robbie Fleck, the Sharks will be a much-improved side from the one that was hammered 40-10 in their own back yard by the Bulls last weekend.

"I don't think you'll see the Sharks like they were against the Bulls again ... they looked flat. They will look to front up this weekend, and rightfully so," he said.

"They're in a similar position to us. They know it's a massively important game for them and they've got some tough customers coming their way.

"Their backs are against the wall and they're in the same boat as us. They won't be as subdued as they were against the Bulls."

This is not the time, however, to panic.

The Stormers do still have eight matches left this season, and five of those are at Newlands while they must also travel to the Sunwolves and Jaguares.

With a number of points and likely wins still on offer, Fleck does not view this weekend as make or break.

"We've still got eight games. We're not where we want to be, but we're still positive in terms of what we want to do," he said.

"That's our motivation. We acknowledge where we're sitting, but the exciting thing is that it is by no means done.

"We work pretty hard and we're excited about where we can land up. It'll be a good story if we can turn it around this weekend and keep clawing our way up that log."

Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:15 .

Teams:

Sharks

15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha (captain), 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Juan Schoeman

Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Tyler Paul, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Louis Screuder, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Lwazi Mvovo

Stormers

15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Craig Barry, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian De Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 SP Marais, 23 JJ Engelbrecht

Source: Sport24

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