Sharks embracing tough start

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 14:01

REACTION: The Reds have struggled in the last few seasons of Super Rugby, but they will be no pushovers this time around says Sharks head coach Robert du Preez.

The Sharks depart for Australia on Saturday and they will start their Super Rugby campaign against the Reds next Friday in Brisbane.

The Queenslanders have strengthened their squad significantly ahead of this year's tournament and many feel they will be a tough team to beat in 2017.

Wallabies Scott Higginbotham, Quade Cooper, Stephen Moore and Leroy Houston have all returned to Brisbane. They have also secured the services of veteran loose forward George Smith as well.

"They [Reds] have assembled a really good squad," said Du Preez.

"Stephen Moore, the Australian captain, is with them. They also got George Smith and [Scott] Higginbotham and some really good backs. They will certainly be a different proposition this time around."

A two-match tour to Australia is a tough start for the Durban-based franchise, but Du Preez is optimistic that his team can pick up some valuable points on the road.

After their match against the Reds next week the Sharks will travel to Canberra to face the Brumbies before returning to Durban to take on the Waratahs.  

"We would like to win both [Reds and Brumbies] games," Du Preez added.

"We definitely want to improve on the previous two [pre-season] games that we had. We will concentrate on our processes and getting two wins out of the tour will be fantastic."

@rugby365com

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Fri, 24 March 2017
Crusaders v Force 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Waratahs 08h45 Melbourne
Glasgow Warriors v Connacht 17h15 Scotstoun Stadium
Scarlets v Edinburgh 19h05 Parc y Scarlets
Treviso v Ospreys 19h35 Stadio Monigo
Dragons v Ulster 19h35 Rodney Parade
Sat, 25 March 2017
Blues v Bulls 06h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Highlanders 08h45 Canberra
Sunwolves v Stormers 10h55 Singapore
Kings v Lions 13h05 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Zebre v Munster 14h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 15h00 Twickenham Stoop
Saracens v Bath 15h00 Allianz Park
Leinster v Cardiff Blues 15h00 RDS Arena
Northampton Saints v Leicester Tigers 15h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 15h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Sharks 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Ospreys 19h35 Stadio Monigo
Jaguares v Reds 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 26 March 2017
Wasps v Worcester Warriors 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Bristol v Gloucester 15h00 Ashton Gate
Mon, 27 March 2017
NWU-Pukke v UP-Tuks 14h45 Potchefstroom
Fort Hare v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Davidson Stadium
Wits v UCT-Ikeys 16h30 Johannesburg
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 10
Reds 4 1 0 3 6
Force 3 1 0 2 5
Waratahs 4 1 0 3 4
Rebels 3 0 0 3 0
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Chiefs 4 4 0 0 19
Crusaders 4 4 0 0 16
Hurricanes 4 3 0 1 15
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Highlanders 4 1 0 3 5
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 3 3 0 0 13
Cheetahs 4 2 0 2 9
Bulls 3 1 0 2 5
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 1
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Jaguares 4 3 0 1 14
Lions 4 3 0 1 14
Sharks 4 3 0 1 13
Kings 4 1 0 3 5