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, 26 May 2017
Blues v Chiefs 07h45 Auckland
Reds v Force 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Sat, 27 May 2017
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 05h15 Tokyo
Highlanders v Waratahs 07h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Crusaders 09h45 Melbourne
Bulls v Hurricanes 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13h30 London
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Kings Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h15 Dublin
Jaguares v Brumbies 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 12h30 Ellis Park Stadium
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 11 4 0 7 23
Waratahs 11 4 0 7 19
Reds 11 3 0 8 16
Force 11 3 0 8 13
Rebels 11 1 1 9 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 12 0 0 54
Hurricanes 11 9 0 2 43
Chiefs 11 9 0 2 43
Highlanders 12 9 0 3 41
Blues 12 6 0 6 31
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 11 7 0 4 30
Bulls 11 3 0 8 15
Cheetahs 12 2 0 10 11
Sunwolves 11 1 0 10 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 11 0 1 51
Sharks 12 8 1 3 38
Jaguares 11 5 0 6 24
Kings 11 4 0 7 19