Esterhuizen's the country's best

Sun, 09 Apr 2017 16:01

SUPER RUGBY REACTION: Sharks coach Robert du Preez made a bold statement that his inside centre Andre Esterhuizen, is the best in the country, following their 18-13 victory over the Jaguares on Saturday.

Du Preez believes the No.12 has adjusted well to the pressure teams apply on him during matches.

"In my opinion, he is the best [No.] 12 in the country. He has been playing great rugby and he has handled the pressure well. His skills level has improved tremendously," Du Preez said.

The Sharks managed to hang on for the narrow victory during a scrappy affair, against what was ultimately a full Test side.

"It was very tough, as we expected it to be. They are a very difficult side to play against and are a full Test team, so I am very proud of your win - I thought it was a fantastic win.

"As a team, we have lots of character. It [the game] was difficult because the ball was really slippery, especially those last 20 minutes. So it made it difficult to play the way we wanted to play," he added.

Flyhalf Garth April was replaced late by rookie Innocent Radebe after the former picked up a "freak injury" during Thursday's pre-match training session.

"Innocent Radebe came through really well and that's good for me [to see]. He would have learnt a lot from the game [since] he never really got ball on the front foot but he will just get better.

"Garth [April] pulled a calf [muscle] on Thursday in a freak injury but I am sure he will be ready and in contention for the game against the Rebels in two weeks time," he stated.

The Sharks will have a bye during the next round after playing seven tough matches on the trot.

"The seven games has been very tough. [This week] we had 13 guys at the Springbok camp and they had a tough workout there, so we only had one day of preparation [ahead of the Jaguares game]. The boys are really looking forward to the break, and then back here in two weeks.

"It was a really important win [for us], we were hoping for five points but maybe that was wishful thinking," du Preez said.

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 25 May 2018
Crusaders v Hurricanes 07h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sunwolves 09h45 Melbourne
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sat, 26 May 2018
Chiefs v Waratahs 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Highlanders 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Bulls v Brumbies 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 14h00 London
Stormers v Lions 15h15 Newlands
Leinster v Scarlets 17h00 Dublin
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 11 6 1 4 31
Rebels 11 5 0 6 25
Reds 11 4 0 7 18
Brumbies 11 3 0 8 16
Sunwolves 11 0 9 10
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 10 0 2 46
Hurricanes 11 10 0 1 45
Highlanders 11 7 0 4 32
Chiefs 11 7 0 4 32
Blues 12 3 0 9 17
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 7 0 6 36
Jaguares 12 7 0 5 29
Sharks 12 5 1 6 28
Bulls 12 5 0 7 24
Stormers 13 5 0 8 23