Planet Rugby

Preview: Rebels v Sharks

01st May 2014 17:54

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Sharks number eight Ryan Kankowski against Rebels

Sharks number eight: Kankowski

The Rebels know they face a Sharks side that are smarting after they suffered only their second defeat of the season last weekend.

Rebels flanker Scott Fuglistaller expects a backlash from the table-toppers this weekend.

"Every team I've played with, if we've played South African teams, it's always about being clever and getting around them and moving them around," Fuglistaller told the Herald Sun.

"I think this time matching that physicality and taking it away from them is a key driver.

"You put someone on a (physical) pedestal like that, then you've already lost half the battle before you go on."

Fuglistaller expects the Sharks to come with a big physical onslaught, especially in the forward exchanges.

"Specifically, their physicality, the identity they have that - no matter what or who they play - they come with the same attitude, the same style, that brute force," he said.

"I think if we can match that, and if we can take that part of the game away from them, that will put us in good stead towards the back of the game to put some points on."

The men from Durban have made great strides under former Springbok coach Jake White and are determined to start their tour with a win.

"We want to bounce back. It doesn't matter who it is, it's not the Rebels we're targeting," White said.

"When we lost to the Bulls, we won the next game against the Waratahs. This week we need to make sure that regardless of who we're playing, we need to be better than we were last week to get a result."

On last season's tour, the Sharks lost three of their four games and traditionally, overseas trips have proved the downfall for South African sides.

"We want to get our tour off to a good start and take momentum through the tour and in order to do that we need to get a win in the first game," White said.

The Sharks have picked Francois Steyn at fly-half which is an indication that they will be playing for territory by using his big boot, before striking with their forwards while the selection of Luke Burgess for the Rebels is an indication that the Rebels will look to their scrum-half to attack the fringes and to play with his forwards.

It sets the scene for an interesting battle.

Predicition: The Sharks will have a battle considering their long journey from Durban. But despite the travel factor they should be victorious. It will be close but Sharks to win by four points!

The teams:

Rebels: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Male Sau, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Colby Fainga'a, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Cruze Ah-Nau.
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Max Lahiff,18 Paul Alo-Emilie, 19 Hugh Pyle, 20 Sean McMahon, 21 Nic Stirzaker, 22 Tom Kingston, 23 Angus Roberts

Sharks: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Heimar Williams, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (capt), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Keegan Daniel, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 SP Marais.

Date: Friday, May 2
Kick-off: 19:40 local (10:40 BST, 09:40 GMT)
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
Television match official: Peter Marshall (Australia)

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