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Super Rugby Preview: Sharks v Hurricanes

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Thursday, May 30, 2019    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Match Details: Sharks v Hurricanes, June 2, 2019, Kings Park, Durban, 1.05 am (NZT)

Played: 22
Won: Sharks 11, Hurricanes 10, Drawn 1
Last time: Sharks 37-38 Hurricanes, McLean Park, Napier, April 6, 2018
Referee: Nic Berry

FORM

The Sharks have had a mixed run this season, only once winning successive games, their first two games of the season when they beat the Sunwolves 45-10a and the Blues 26-7. They lost their next two games to the Stormers 11-16 and the Bulls 14-37a. They beat the Rebels 28-14 then lost to the Bulls 16-19. They beat the Lions away 42-5 and then lost to the Jaguares 17-51 and the Reds 14-21. On their overseas tour they beat the Waratahs 23-15, drew with the Crusaders 21-21 and lost to the Chiefs 23-29. Back home they beat the Lions 27-17. The Hurricanes have lost only three games this year, including their last outing against the Jaguares beaten 20-28. Earlier, they beat the Waratahs 20-19a, lost to the Crusaders 22-38a, then had wins over the Brumbies 43-13 and the Highlanders 25-22. They drew with the Chiefs 23-23 and beat the Stormers 34-28 before losing to the Crusaders again 8-32a. Then followed a succession of wins against the Highlanders 31-28a, the Sunwolves 29-23a, the Chiefs 47-19, the Rebels 29-19 and the Blues 22-12a.

SHARKS CHASE MENTAL PITCH

Only one change has been made to the Sharkes side who beat the Lions last week with flanker Philip van der Walt out with a shoulder injury and replaced by Jacques Vermeulen. Centre Lukhanyo Am said: "Going into each game you play you have something slightly different motivating you, and for the Hurricanes this week it is the knowledge we can do it. You know that if you don't pitch mentally you are going to get a hiding. So going into this game, we know what to expect and what might be coming if we are not switched on. The Hurricanes, like the Lions, are a side that try to starve you of possession, so we have to be sharp on attack when we do get the ball, as well as on defence."

POSSESSION SPEED VITAL


Hurricanes coach John Plumtree knows the side's ability to win possession at the speed they want is crucial to ensuring a supply of ball to feed their running game and is bolstered by the fact the side leads the competition in turnovers won while the Sharks are 14th on the list. The Hurricanes also top the list in metres made during the competition with 471.4m compared to the Sharks who are sixth on 417.8. The Hurricanes also head the table for most defenders beaten at 27.5 while the Sharks are back in 13th on 19.5. Both sides have strong defensive games and are comparable in the set-piece averages they have seen during the season.

THE SCOOP

The Sharks have won their last four games against New Zealand sides, only once conceding more than 15 points.

FAST FACT

The Hurricanes have won their last three games away from home, the last time they did better was a six-game run to open the 2015 campaign.

TEAMS:

Sharks: 1.Mzamo Majola, 2.Kerron van Vuuren, 3.Coenie Oosthuizen, 4.Ruben van Heerden, 5.Ruan Botha, 6.Jacques Vermeulen, 7.Jean-Luc du Preez, 8.Dan du Preez, 9.Louis Schreuder (captain), 10.Curwin Bosch, 11.Makazole Mapimpi, 12.Andrew Esterhuizen, 13.Lukhanyo Am, 14.Sbu Nkosi, 15.Aphelele Fassi.

Substitutes: 16.Craig Burden/Cullen Collopy, 17.Juan Schoeman, 18.Thomas du Toit, 19.Hyron Andrews, 20.Tyler Paul, 21.Cameron Wright, 22.Robert du Preez, 23.Kobus van Wyk.

Hurricanes: 1.Toby Smith,2.Asafo Aumua, 3.Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 4.James Blackwell, 5.Isaia Walker-Leawere, 6.Vaea Fifita, 7.Ardie Savea, 8.Reed Prinsep, 9.TJ Perenara (captain), 10.Beauden Barrett, 11.Ben Lam, 12.Ngani Laumape, 13.Matt Proctor, 14.Wes Goosen, 15.Jordie Barrett.

Substitutes: 16.Dane Coles, 17.Fraser Armstrong, 18.Ross Geldenhuys, 19.Kane Le'aupepe, 20.Du-Plessis Kirifi, 21.Gareth Evans, 22.Richard Judd, 23.James Marshall.