You're not going to win with reputations
Sharks boss Jake White has named a star-studded Super Rugby squad, but warned that reputations will mean little when action gets underway against the Bulls this weekend.
The Sharks have been widely tipped as favourites to win the South African Super Rugby conference, but White insists his team are taking nothing for granted at Kings Park on Saturday against a Bulls side that did just that last year.
"Let's be fair, the Bulls are the most successful Super franchise in South Africa and they aren't going to come here and hand over what we want," he admitted.
"It's a derby game, the first game of the tournament for both sides and a lot of media hype about the fact that we have this talented squad. I think it's going to be a very interesting game, an eye-opener for South African rugby," White added.
The Sharks mentor said that whilst expectations on his side are quite high, they are determined not to be distracted from their main goal by all of the hype.
"It's unique for this group and not many South African sides get given the favourites' tag. In fact, in a lot of ways, South Africans like to be the underdog, both internationally as well as at a franchise level.
"That's just the way it is and one thing I've chatted to the players about is reputations. Reputations mean nothing, it doesn't matter what people think and it doesn't matter how many Springboks you have, you're not going to win with reputations.
"I'm not trying to play down the fact that we have a talented squad - we have - but the challenge is making sure that everything is aligned. So that the way we train and the way we prepare and the way we play underline the fact that we are favourites and are talented and have a good team," he added.
Sharks 2014 Super Rugby Squad: Lourens Adriaanse, Willem Alberts, Jacques Botes, Anton Bresler, Dale Chadwick, Marcell Coetzee, Kyle Cooper, Tonderai Chavhanga, Keegan Daniel, Jean Deysel, Bismarck du Plessis (captain), Jannie du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Thomas du Toit, Andre Esterhuizen, Tyler Fisher, Hansie Graaf, Monde Hadebe, Paul Jordaan, Ryan Kankowski, Patrick Lambie, Stephan Lewies, Peet Marais ,SP Marais, Charl McLeod, Tendai Mtawarira, Tera Mtembu, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, Etienne Oosthuizen, JP Pietersen, Cobus Reinach, S'bura Sithole, Francois Steyn, Tim Swiel, Stefan Ungerer, Jaco van Tonder, Heimar Williams Fred Zeilinga.