Sharks head into long, hard slog

Tue, 02 Apr 2013 08:23
Large pieter steph du toit

The Sharks begin a gruelling eight week period when they take on the high-flying Crusaders at Kings Park on Friday evening.

The Sharks begin a gruelling eight week period when they take on the high-flying Crusaders at Kings Park on Friday evening.

Their itinerary consists of fixtures against the Crusaders, Stormers and the Cheetahs before they head on their four-week tour of Australia and New Zealand.

The Sharks had their bye this last week and assistant coach Hugh Reece-Edwards highlighted the importance of the three games leading up to their tour.

"All three of these matches are absolutely vital for our campaign.

"And every match against the Crusaders is a passionate clash, they have arguably been New Zealand’s best side in the history of the competition and a side that our guys measure themselves against," he stressed.

The Sharks produced an incredibly dominant display when they destroyed the below-par Rebels in their last outing, which will give them confidence heading into this tough period.

"It is certainly nice that the bounce of the ball has gone our way and we can go into the Crusaders’ game having ticked a few boxes that we haven’t in the past.

"The confidence is there and we’ve removed much of the doubt," Reece-Edwards explained.

The Durban side will feel more relieved that they have got the try-scoring monkey off their back but will feel aggrieved that they have missed out on a couple of bonus points.

"At this stage of the competition, we’re probably a bonus point or two short, but we’ll take four wins out of five.

"We have three games before touring and there are some targets set, we also have to look at bonus points along the line," he said.

The Sharks, aware of their tough schedule, will be encouraged with the return of a number of top players during this eight week period.

"We should also get Bismarck du Plessis, Willem Alberts, Butch James, Jean Deysel and Tim Whitehead back.

"Getting those five back is a third of your team back and it freshens up a few people.

"It will be good for us," the assistant coach added.

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 08h45 Melbourne
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9