Planet Rugby

Preview: Sharks v Hurricanes

20th February 2014 22:40

Share:

Hurricanes centre Conrad Smith riding contact

Fresh: Conrad Smith

The Sharks will be looking to make it two wins from two in Super Rugby when they face an injury-hit Hurricanes side at Kings Park on Saturday.

Victor Vito, Ardie Savea and Brad Shields aren't involved for the 'Canes in their opener, which is a major blow before a ball has been kicked.

It's difficult to stress just how much of a loss this is to the visitors as the trio are some of coach Mark Hammett's vital attacking weapons. Shields and Vito's athleticism is often seen in wide channels, where they cause defences trouble, while Savea is New Zealand's next big thing.

Their absence subsequently hands the Sharks a lift before kick-off but for the neutral it comes as a blow as a scrap between the trio and Ryan Kankowski, Willem Alberts and Marcell Coetzee would have been worth the entrance fee alone. A lot now rests on Faifili Levave and Jack Lam for the Hurricanes while Blade Thomson adds to his one appearance of last year at one of the toughest venues around, versus a side looking in-form.

Last week's 31-16 win over the Bulls at this very ground saw strong games from several Sharks players, with a noticeable amount of hard work having gone in during the off-season. Frans Steyn looked to have slimmed down, Paul Jordaan seems niggle free while Pat Lambie played smart.

Indeed Steyn got the better of opposite number Jan Serfontein which, for the benefit of the Springboks, is great news for South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer. Having both those two snapping at each others' heels behind Jean de Villiers can only be seen as a positive approaching 2015.

Willem Alberts was not at his best against the Bulls though so a riposte is expected, with his carrying combined with a powerful home driving maul set to feature heavily. If the Sharks do dominate up front, it would help nullify the threat that is Julian Savea and Cory Jane out wide.

Jane returns to Super Rugby following last season's injury and lines up alongside one of the stories of the past twelve months, Marty Banks. Banks earned a Hurricanes deal after impressing for Tasman in the ITM Cup, this coming after stints in Russia and New Zealand's Buller side.

Could it be a similar fairytale-esque start to the season for the Hurricanes? It's unlikely as this is a Sharks team on a mission that has a week of top flight rugby under its belt. Expect moments of class from Beauden Barrett and company but the home side will have too much grunt.

Prediction: It's unfortunate the Hurricanes don't arrive in Durban at full strength. The hosts won't mind though, Sharks by 15!

The teams:

Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (c), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Heimar Williams, 23 S'bura Sithole.

Hurricanes: 15 Marty Banks, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Hadleigh Parks, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 John Schwalger, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Adam Hill, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Alapati Leiua, 23 James Marshall.

Date: Saturday, February 22
Kick-off: 17:05 local (15:05 GMT)
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Marius Jonker (South Africa), Stefan Breytenbach (South Africa)
Television match official: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins vs Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Preview
Newcastle Falcons vs GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Preview
Saturday , November 22
Exeter vs WaspsExeter vs Wasps Preview
London Irish vs BathLondon Irish vs Bath Preview
Sunday , November 23
Saracens vs NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Preview
London Welsh vs Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 22
Italy vs South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Preview
Scotland vs TongaScotland vs Tonga Preview
Ireland vs AustraliaIreland vs Australia Preview
Wales vs New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Preview
England vs SamoaEngland vs Samoa Preview
France vs ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Preview
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 21
Dragons vs MunsterDragons vs Munster Preview
Scarlets vs Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Preview
Connacht vs ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Preview
Ulster vs OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Preview
Sunday , November 23
Treviso vs LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Preview
Edinburgh vs Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Preview
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle FalconsBath vs Newcastle Falcons Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Romania 13 - 18 JapanRomania vs Japan Report
France 29 - 26 AustraliaFrance vs Australia Report
Scotland 16 - 24 New ZealandScotland vs New Zealand Report
England 28 - 31 South AfricaEngland vs South Africa Report
Tonga 40 - 12 USATonga vs USA Report
Wales 17 - 13 FijiWales vs Fiji Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 14
Gloucester 15 - 22 HarlequinsGloucester vs Harlequins Report
Northampton 18 - 24 ExeterNorthampton vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 18 - 20 ArgentinaItaly vs Argentina Report
Canada 13 - 23 SamoaCanada vs Samoa Report
More International Match results
LV= Cup
Cardiff Blues 19 - 13 Scarlets
Ospreys 35 - 51 DragonsOspreys vs Dragons Report
Sunday , November 9
Wasps 43 - 22 London Irish
London Welsh 9 - 18 Gloucester
Leicester 29 - 13 Sale SharksLeicester vs Sale Sharks Report
More LV= Cup results
International Match
Saturday , November 8
Italy 24 - 13 SamoaItaly vs Samoa Report
Wales 28 - 33 AustraliaWales vs Australia Report
England 21 - 24 New ZealandEngland vs New Zealand Report
Georgia 9 - 23 TongaGeorgia vs Tonga Report
Ireland 29 - 15 South AfricaIreland vs South Africa Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton726
2Exeter724
3Bath724
4Saracens724
5Wasps720