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PREVIEW: Sharks v Hurricanes

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Thursday, May 5, 2016    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

ROUND 11: Sharks v Hurricanes, 1am (NZT), Sunday 8 May, Durban

TALE OF THE TAPE
These two sides have a close rivalry with honours shared at eight wins apiece, and one drawn, in their 17 games. The Hurricanes have taken time to build this season after their first-up towelling by the Brumbies, but they have improved and last weekend's win over the Lions demonstrated their ability to win without the, pardon the pun, Lions' share of possession. The Sharks, on the other hand, went close to achieving three out of three in New Zealand, but only ended with one win over the Highlanders, still a handy scalp, especially in Dunedin.

SCRUM POWER
It's always said games are won up front, and that will be the requirement in this instance as both sides field good packs. The Hurricanes scrum has been one of their key weapons this year while the Sharks have been strong in that area also. The contest between props Reggie Goodes and Lourens Adriaanse will be another step in Goodes' advance while Jeff Toomaga-Allen will be looking for good support in coping with Springbok strong man Tendai Mtawarira.
CALLING THE SHOTS
One of the undoubted success stories for the Sharks on tour was first five-eighths Garth April, his try against the Chiefs a sign of rising potential. He must have wondered if he would hold his place with Patrick Lambie due to return but he has been given another chance. His handling of the role in the face of the commanding play Beauden Barrett has been producing for the Hurricanes should make for a fascinating contest of styles.

LETTING LOOSE
Some thunderous clashes can be anticipated in the loose forward battle. Home flanker Keegan Daniel is one of the warriors for his side and his scrap with Ardie Savea will go a long way towards deciding the winners of the breakdown. But behind them there is the potential for even more fireworks as the big twins Jean-Luc and Daniel du Preez take on two experienced customers in Victor Vito and Brad Shields. It will be interesting to see if the greater mobility of Hurricanes locks Vaea Fifita and Michael Fatialofa becomes a factor in the loose exchanges. Because in the tight there is little doubt of the quality the Sharks locks Stephen Lewies and Etienne Oosthuizen bring to the battle.

TEAMS:

Sharks: 1.Tendai Mtawarira (captain), 2.Franco Marais, 3.Lourens Adriaanse, 4.Etienne Oosthuizen, 5.Stephen Lewies, 6.Keegan Daniel, 7.Jean-Luc du Preez, 8.Daniel du Preez, 9.Michael Claasen, 10.Garth April, 11.Lwazi Mvovo, 12.Andre Esterhuizen, 13.Paul Jordaan, 14.JP Pietersen, 15.Willie le Roux.

Reserves: 16.Chiliboy Ralapelle, 17.Dale Chadwick, 18.Thomas du Toit, 19.Hyron Andrews, 20.Jean Deysel, 21.Stefan Ungerer, 22.Pat Lambie, 23.Odwa Ndungane.

Hurricanes: 1.Reggie Goodes, 2.Dane Coles (captain). 3.Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 4.Vaea Fifita, 5.Michael Fatialofa, 6.Brad Shields, 7.Ardie Savea, 8.Victor Vito, 9.TJ Perenara, 10.Beauden Barrett, 11.Julian Savea, 12.Vince Aso, 13.Matt Proctor, 14.Cory Janes, 15.James Marshall.

Reserves: 16.Motu Matu'u, 17.Chris Eves, 18.Ben May, 19.Mark Abbott, 20.Blade Thomson, 21.Jamison Gibson-Park, 22.Willis Halaholo, 23.Jason Woodward.