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, 05 May 2017
Hurricanes v Stormers 07h35 Westpac Stadium
Cheetahs v Highlanders 17h00 Bloemfontein
Sat, 06 May 2017
Bristol v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Ashton Gate
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Northampton Saints v Harlequins 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Wasps v Saracens 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh 22h00 Scotstoun Stadium
Dragons v Cardiff Blues 22h00 Rodney Parade
Zebre v Treviso 22h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ulster v Leinster 22h00 Kingspan Stadium
Scarlets v Ospreys 22h00 Parc y Scarlets
Munster v Connacht 22h00 Thomond Park
Gloucester v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Kingsholm
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Rebels v Lions 05h00 Melbourne
Chiefs v Reds 07h35 New Plymouth
Waratahs v Blues 09h45 Allianz Park
Sharks v Force 13h05 Kings Park, Durban
Bulls v Crusaders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Jaguares v Sunwolves 21h40 Buenos Aires
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 9 3 0 6 18
Waratahs 9 3 0 6 13
Reds 9 2 0 7 11
Force 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 8 1 1 6 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 9 9 0 0 41
Chiefs 9 8 0 1 37
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 9 4 0 5 22
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 9 2 0 7 10
Sunwolves 9 1 0 8 6
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 8 0 1 37
Sharks 9 6 1 2 28
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 20
Kings 9 3 0 6 15