Bismarck to front-up to Highlanders
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 15:24
Put our mark of authority over them
Bismarck du Plessis has put forward a warning that his side cannot be complacent against the Highlanders who have already tasted victory in Durban this year.
Round 11 saw the Highlanders, in their first tour match, shock the then high-flying Sharks with a 34-18 victory at Kings Park.
The Highlanders were the first team to front-up to the Sharks famed physicality and they were soon rewarded as Jake Whites men quickly went off the boil.
The scars from that game are still fresh enough in the Sharks captain's mind as they prepare to take the Otago men again in a sudden death play-off match.
"Against us the last time here their forwards were really physical and were really dominant in the tight loose," Du Plessis said.
In typical style, the abrasive forward is now looking to get his revenge by fighting fire with fire, imploring his team to dominate them with authority.
"We really have to be up for the challenge and really need to put our mark of authority over them," he added.
With regards to form going into the play-offs, the Sharks would definitly be the happier - they have bounced back from back-to-back defeats against the Stormers and Cheetahs this weekend, with a 34-10 victory over the men from the Cape.
"I think we let ourselves down with the last two losses, but really just wanted to play good rugby, we took it minute-by-minute and the guys really responded very well," Du Plessis said.
"We've played well throughout the season. I think we let ourselves down thrice through the year, we weren't happy with that.
"I won't say I was surprised [by how well we played in the last game], I was almost expecting that from the guys to really respond well."
The Sharks are expecting to be bolstered by some big names for the Highlanders' clash with Tendai Mtawarira and Pat Lambie looking match-ready after injury lay-offs.
Additionally, JP Pietersen appears fine following the concussion he suffered in a clash of heads with Duane Vermeulen at Newlands - an injury that forced him to leave the field after only 18 minutes.
Du Plessis revealed he was on the road to recovery after taking a blow to his neck against the Stormers.
"I took quite a bad knock to the neck quite early in the game and it was quite sore," he said.
"But we'll see what happens on Saturday."
Also expected to return is scrumhalf Cobus Reinach following a hamstring injury that forced him to be withdrawn just before kick-off at the weekend.
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