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Defence vital for Sharks' hopes in Napier

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018    Getty Images

Coming off the back of a stunning 63-40 win over the Blues at the weekend, the Sharks face a much tougher prospect in Hawke's Bay if they are to come out of their four-game Australasian tour with a 50 percent success ratio.

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He told sharksrugby.co.za, "We know this week will be tougher than last week, the Hurricanes are the No.1 team in New Zealand in my opinion."

While the Hurricanes had a disappointing start to their season when losing to the Bulls in Pretoria, they had upped their efforts since and have been in commanding form, beating the top Australian side, the Rebels, 50-19 last week in Melbourne.

"It just shows that if you have a little bit of an off day, you can catch 50 points. It happened to us against the Rebels and [for] the Blues against us on Saturday.

"This means that our defence is going to have to be out of the top drawer. We've given away too many soft tries and Saturday showed what a massive effect a yellow card can have on a team, so a massive focus for us will be on discipline.



"In saying that, we only gave away six penalties, but the card was costly because we gave away three tries in the period. You just can't lose a player against the New Zealand teams," du Preez said.

Coming through the Blues game unscathed, du Preez has been able to name an unchanged side for the Napier game. There had only been a couple of niggles and everyone was available for selection.

"Defence will win us this game," he said.

"After the disappointments of the first two weeks on tour, the boys were hurt, but they were desperate to get a first win on tour.

"If there had been a lack of effort previously, I would have been really worried, but that wasn't the issue. This time around [against the Blues] the boys brought the effort and the accuracy, so it was much better and I was really pleased with that performance.

"Everyone was desperate to put in a good performance, and that aim was achieved. Every player had a part to play, including the bench players when they came on," he said.