||Stay with us as we go to PE where the Kings host the Blues|
||The Sharks refusing to stop without the extra points. Mvovo with a sweet pass to du Preez and the whistle finally sounds outside the 22. FULL TIME|
||The Sharks knock-on the ball and its cleared but not into touch. le Roux starts an attack again looking for the bonus points.|
||Deysel tries to go alone after the scrum but nearly as lucky as du Preez as his path is blocked. The ball is lost forward by the Canes. Scrum at the 5 again now down field|
||Both teams endeavouring to get bonus points to their respective situations. The Sharks at the 5 meter of the Canes and the ball is cleared but the referee calls it back for a penalty. Scrum at the 5|
||Woodward secures the extras|
||The Canes with some good build up play to pull one back. The odds are against them but the losing bonus point still within their grasp. Marshall takes credit for the TRY|
||Lambie secures the extras|
||Daniel du Preez with a good shimmey after the scrum and he dives over the line with no trouble to score the TRY|
||The Sharks at the half way when they lose it to the Canes. The away side give away possession again. Both teams finding it difficult to move far away from the half way line|
||Coles with a good run but squanders the pass and the counter attack over shadows his break when Jordaan makes an even better one but fails to pass and is tackled by Savea in front of the 5 meter|
||The Canes playing short passes in tight spaces and making it work. They send it back to slow down the pace and the stab kick through sees the runner go but its picked up and cleared by the home side|
||Scrum at the 10 meter of the Canes|
||The Sharks take it quickly but the referee blows shortly after saying that black players were offside. Penalty to the Canes as Barrett returns after his concussion test. Line-out at the half way and another steal for the Sharks, their third this afternoon. The Sharks now at mid field with the ball then they kick forward and squander possession|
||du Preez tries to go alone along the right wing but he is halted by 3 players. The ball bounces around the line almost going into touch. Some aggression being shown by a few players and the referee breaks it up.|
||The referee blows for a penalty straight after the reset kick. Lambie takes the kick and finds touch in a good position around the 5 meter|
||Lambie lines up for the kick looking to show he is back and he does. 3 extra points to the board|
||The Sharks with new-found momentum as they push forward into the 22 of the Canes. Penalty to the home side.|
||April gives his final contribution with 2 points before Lambie makes his way to the field|
||The Sharks get the penalty from the scrum and Claassens takes it quickly. He slips over the line to score the TRY|
||Scrum at the 5 meter of the Canes|
||The referee blows for a penalty and Barrett appears to be leaving the field for Woodward. Line-out after the penalty at the 22 of the Sharks. They steal another line-out. The Canes being closed down in their own half and the pressure being applying heavily by the home side. The referee blows for a penalty to the Sharks at the 5 meter|
||The Canes inside the Sharks 10 meter now but the home team turnover and the ball is cleared by le Roux. The Canes restart their attack. Fatialofa running straight into the opposing team with little regard for his own body. The ball is cleared by by the Sharks shortly after. April moves the ball upfield at his 10 meter and the Sharks and Canes at a stalemate it seems|
||April secures the extras. A good start for the Sharks|
||The Canes now at the half way, when Shields' pass is too sharp and Pietersen pounces on the ball. He kicks it forward and makes a fine run to score the first TRY of the half|
||The ball is kicked into touch by Barrett at the 22 of the home team. The Sharks steal the line-out ant they clear.|
||April gets the second half underway and Vito takes it down and tries to run with it immediately. The home boys take home down and the ball finds touch at the 22 of the away side. Barrett clears and the Sharks make their way to the half way line with the ball. Pietersen passes 2 but with no intention of making a run as he looks for a team mate. Penalty to the Canes as the ball moves down field|
||The Sharks under pressure in their own half. They manege to find space forward with a good run and the followup is there. The Sharks at the 5 meter applying heavy pressure before the horn sounds and JP Pietersen finds the gap and roles over the line to score the TRY April fails to secure the extra 2 points. 8 a piece as the players go into the break. HALF TIME|
||The Sharks destroy the Canes scrum and Barrett clears in panic. The ball being booted from both sides of the field until April finally kicks it into touch at the half way|
||The Sharks trying to go forward in the driving maul but find they are making no ground at all. Scrum at the 10 meter|
||Jane, the last man along the wing, fails to grab hold of the ball which was passed short. Penalty to the Sharks and April kicks it into touch inside the 10|
||Barrett with an aimless kick forward and April plans his a bit more as it goes into touch at the half way|
||Line-out at the 22 for the home team and the Sharks clear their lines prompting the Canes to come again. But the turnover comes from the Sharks and then they lose it seconds after|
||Line-out to the Sharks at the 10 meter of the Canes. Jane making some good ground along his right wing before he is tackled into touch|
||Barrett adjusts the ball a number of times before kicking but the preparations don't pay off. He fails to get the 2 points|
||The Canes move the ball down field and find themselves at the 5 meter in the 8th phase. Goodes with a dive through the lines that caught the Sharks off guard. He secures the first TRY of the game|
||Medical staff leaving the field after attending to some minor strains being attended to. Scrum at the 10 meter of the Sharks. Perenara sends it to Barrett who makes a few feet before he receives a crunching tackle up field|
||Coles takes the line-out at the half way and the ball is sent down field. Ardie Savea runs straight into traffic|
||April picks up a stray ball and the Sharks assume formation quickly to make ground and find themselves at the 5 meter. The referee blows for a penalty to the Canes. Barrett sends it into the safety of touch far away from his goal line|
||The Sharks with a deeps reset kick and the chase puts the Canes under pressure. They do manage to clear into touch at their 22|
||Line-out at the 10 meter of the home team as the pressure continues to mount. The referee blows for a penalty against the Sharks. The visitors now with a chance to level he score. Barrett steps up and he secures it|
||Barrett tries to go alone and he is tackled down. The knock-on by the Canes sees the Sharks off the hook and they clear their lines|
||The Sharks clear the ball from their 22 into touch at their own 10 meter. The Sharks defence have been well disciplined thus far. Coles finds his way to the 5 meter and the Sharks scrambling now|
||The Sharks pushing the Canes back in the scrum and April tries to kick forward so Pietersen can chase but it bounces backwards. The Canes try a kick forward of their own with Ardie Savea and his too bounces unfavorably|
||Jane with a quick pass as he was being closed down but it's short and the Sharks pounce. The referee calls it back to for a scrum at the 10 meter of the Sharks|
||The Canes with a good position with the line-out at the 22. The away team make progress quickly into the 5 meter but they play it away then clear to safety looking fairly composed. The Hurricanes move forward again at the 10 meter now|
||The referee refers to the TMO for potential obstruction by Marshall. The referee takes no further action. April takes the penalty and opens the scoring for the Sharks|
||The turnover is there and Mvovo making a strong run and he is impeded according to his team mates but the referee says only a penalty|
||Canes clear their lines and the Sharks decide to do the same. Line-out at the 10 meter of the away team and the Sharks lose the ball. The Canes start their counter attack down field|
||And April finds space and runs past 2 then gives a good offload to Jordaan who makes it over the line to score the try. The referee calls them back for the pass being forward. Scrum at the 22|
||The visitors struggling to find a gap but the Sharks showing them none. The Canes make some ground with Jane at the 10, patiently making ground|
||Barrett gets the ball down field but he is run into touch. The referee calls it back for a scrum at the half way, where play has been centered in the early minutes. Scrum reset|
||Line-out at the half way and the Canes on a mission now at the half way but the defensive line holding firm. Penalty to the Canes and they take it quickly. Perenara makes it into the 22 but he is chased and brought down and the Sharks hastily clear their lines. Line-out at the 10 of the Sharks|
||They send it down field to Pietersen and he looks for the gap but finds nothing. The Canes clear and the Sharks return the favour|
||And Esterhuizen losing his man making a few meters before he is brought down. Not before he offloads and they move forward on their left wing.|
||April lines up for kick but he doesn't have the distance to make the 3 points|
||The Canes with possession at the half way. The referee blows and the Sharks players debating what course of action they want to take with the penalty|
||Claassens clears as soon as he gets possession. The Canes start with a line-out at the 10 and the Sharks with a fine turnover. Scrum outside the 22 of the home team and le Roux clears after the scrum|
||Marius van der Westhuizen blows his whistle and Barrett kicks it deep|
||The Canes the first side to make their way to the field|
||The analysts suggest the game rests on the performances of Pietersen for the Sharks Savea for the Canes. Their money favouring the JP|
||The Sharks have won four of their last six matches against the Hurricanes, though the New Zealand side have won two of the last three including an eight-point win in their most recent encounter.|
||Welcome to the penultimate match of Round 11! The Sharks are at home to the high flying Hurricanes.|
IN THE SPOTLIGHT. Jan de Koning looks at the Saturday matches in Part Two of Super Rugby's Round 11.
The return of try-scoring machine Waisake Naholo has commanded the headlines this week, and has certainly spiced up this weekend's crucial New Zealand conference showdown between the defending champion Highlanders and this year's pace-setting Chiefs.
As the tournament goes into Round 11 of the 17-round regular season, Naholo has been named for his first run since he was injured in the opening game against the Blues at the end of February.
The All Black wing, Super Rugby's top try-scorer last year with 13, injured the same leg that saw him capture world headlines last year when he used a traditional herbal treatment to cure a fracture before the World Cup.
Without him this year the Highlanders have still fashioned an impressive six wins from nine matches, to lie fourth in the tightly-packed New Zealand conference.
The Chiefs have won eight of nine, but they have been off the boil in recent weeks and came close to defeat in their last two outings - edging the Hurricanes (28-27) in controversial fashion, with claims of manipulating the scrum rules, and also just escaping (24-22) against the Sharks last week.
The other BIG game of the weekend will see the Sharks looking to claim top spot in the Africa Two conference, when they host a Hurricanes team looking to back up last week's 50-17 thumping of Africa Two conference leaders the Lions.
And the Hurricanes do have plenty of inside knowledge when they play the Sharks in Durban.
Coach Chris Boyd and assistant John Plumtree have both been involved with the Sharks, with Plumtree sacked as the Durban side's head coach three years ago.
A straight win for the Sharks, after last week's narrow loss to the Chiefs, will see them draw level in their conference with the Lions who have a bye - while a bonus point win will see them go top of the pool.
The Waratahs will also fancy their chances of moving top of the Australia conference - depending on what happens in the encounter between the Brumbies and Bulls on Friday - when they play the Cheetahs in Sydney on Saturday.
The Waratahs go into the weekend equal on points with the Brumbies and only two behind the Rebels, who have a bye.
In the remaining Saturday matches, the Sunwolves are at home in Tokyo against the Western Force, with both sides looking for their second win, while the Southern Kings host the Blues in Port Elizabeth.
We look at the Saturday, May 7, matches below!
It is a historic week for the Western Force, as the team makes the journey to Tokyo to take on competition newcomers, the Sunwolves for the first time.
The Sunwolves, who have been treated like rock stars in Tokyo since their maiden win (36-28) against fellow newcomers the Jaguares a fortnight ago, will pose a massive challenge for the Force.
The plucky Japanese outfit will be fresh heading into this weekend, after enjoying the bye last weekend.
The Force will be just the second Australian team to take on the new Japanese side, after the Rebels defeated the Sunwolves 35-9 in Round Four.
Force coach Michael Foley said the side is looking forward to opportunity they have in front of them in Tokyo.
"Obviously there's always disappointment after a loss," he said of last week's 20-42 defeat at the hands of the Bulls.
"However, the team is more motivated than ever to respond this weekend.
"There's a sense of excitement about the chance to play in Tokyo and we feel we have an opportunity to pick up some wins towards the back end of the season if we attack each game for the 80 minutes without fear."
Although both teams - currently sitting 16th (Sunwolves) and 17th (Force) in the standings - have long since been reduced to also-rans, the match will have one of the tournament's more intriguing head-to-head clashes.
Arguably two of the toughest players in the competition, Ben McCalman and fiery red-head Ed Quirk, will face off at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium.
These teams have never met before.
Prediction: The Sunwolves' only previous experience against Australian opponents was a 26-point loss to the Rebels in Round Four. The Sunwolves, after a 36-28 win against fellow newcomers Jaguares, will now be searching for consecutive wins for the first time in their young history. The Force have won only two of their last 19 matches away from home and outside of Australia the most recent of which came in Round 13, 2014. The Sunwolves have conceded just one penalty goal in the final quarter of matches so far this season; only the Bulls and Lions (nil) have conceded fewer. The Force are one of only three teams in the competition (Sharks and Stormers) to average more penalty goals (2.4) per game than tries (1.2). The Force have been erratic, to say the least, but do have the potential to win. We feel the Sunwolves will be buoyed by their maiden win and should sneak it by a late converted try.
Sunwolves: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Akihito Yamada, 13 Derek Carpenter, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 John Stewart, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Kaito Shigeno, 8 Ed Quirk, 7 Andrew Durutalo, 6 Liaki Moli, 5 Faatiga Lemalu, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 2, Shota Horie (captain), 1 Masataka Mikami.
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Ziun Gu, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Yoshiya Hosoda, 20 Taiyo Ando, 21 Atsushi Hiwasa, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Mifiposeti Paea.
Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Marcel Brache, 13 Solomoni Rasolea, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Luke Morahan, 10 Ian Prior, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Guy Millar, 2 Harry Scoble, 1 Francois van Wyk.
Replacements: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Sitiveni Mafi, 20 Angus Cottrell, 21 Ryan Louwrens, 22 Peter Grant, 23 Semisi Masirewa.
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant referees: Paul Williams, Aki Aso
TMO: Takashi Hareda
There is no doubt this is THE biggest game of the weekend - both in terms of importance and the intensity that the two teams will bring.
Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph had no hesitation in labelling the Chiefs the best team in the competition.
"People start licking their lips over what sort of game it is going to be," Joseph told the Otago Daily Times.
"Both teams like to attack and if guys start slipping off tackles or make mistakes, kick poorly, then guys like Ben [Smith] and [Damian] McKenzie are going to run it,'' he added.
"That opens it up for a really open game of footy.
"But in saying that, it is really hard to play that type of footy for the entire game. So I think they'll have to take a breath of air.
"But for me the Chiefs have been by far the team in form and that is our challenge.''
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie was equally complimentary of the opposition and labelled Saturday's showdown "a massive challenge" for his side.
"The Highlanders are very similar to us, they've got a group of guys who work hard for each other," Rennie told the Waikato Times.
"With game-breakers across the park, they are the type of team that will sting you if you kick poorly or turn the ball over.
"It'll be a hell of a spectacle with two very positive Kiwi teams on display."
2015: Highlanders won 24-14, Dunedin (preliminary play-off match)
2015: Highlanders won 36-9, Dunedin
2015: Highlanders won 20-17, Hamilton
2014: Highlanders won 29-25, Dunedin
2014: Chiefs won 21-19, Hamilton
2013: Chiefs won 19-7, Hamilton
2013: Chiefs won 41-27, Dunedin
Prediction: The Highlanders' current run of four straight wins against the Chiefs snapped a Chiefs run of four straight victories prior to that. Only two of the last five matches between these teams have been won by the team leading at half-time. The Chiefs have won their last seven matches in a row despite having only led at half-time in three of them (level once, trailing three times). Twelve of the past 16 matches when the Chiefs have hosted a fellow New Zealand team have been decided by fewer than 10 points; of those 16 matches Chiefs have won 12. The Highlanders have kept their opposition scoreless in the opening half of two of their last three matches away from home. No doubt it is going to be a cracker and in the end will be close, very close. The Chiefs to win by five points or less.
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Brad Weber, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Taleni Seu, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Mitchell Graham.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Kane Hames, 19 Michael Allardice, 20 Maama Vaipulu, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 Sam Vaka.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Matt Faddes, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dan Pryor, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siosiua Halanukonuka, 19 James Lentjes, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Teihorangi Walden.
Referee: Angus Garner
Assistant referees: Chris Pollock, Angus Mabey
TMO: Shane McDermott
The Waratahs still have aspirations of overtaking the table-topping Rebels and the Brumbies in the Australian conference race.
While travelling back from South Africa, they will no doubt be buoyed by their impressive win over the Africa Conference leaders, the Stormers, last week.
In contrast Cheetahs will be playing in their third away match in a row.
Cheetahs coach Franco Smith certainly has no delusions of grandeur and repeatedly emphasised that his young team - on a massive learning curve - is growing each week.
Smith, speaking to rugby365 from the team's base in Sydney, said that the first objective is always to win a match.
However, the Sydney encounter is also about continuing the team's growth.
"We will have to dominate the breakdowns and we have to dominate the linespeed," Smith said.
"We also have to ensure we don't get bullied in the set pieces."
The Cheetahs are "grateful" that they finally return home next week.
"We can use that as motivation to give it a full go this week," Smith said, adding: "We do want to improve our defence and look to score more tries.
"However, the key will be for us to retain possession for as many phases as possible and get that confidence that we are capable with ball in hand."
The Waratahs, after a very erratic start to the season, finally won back-to-back matches in the last fortnight - an impressive 49-13 demolition of the Force and last week's nailbiting (32-30) win over the Stormers - both on the road.
However, Waratahs flyhalf Bernard Foley said those wins don't count for much if they don't back it up Saturday.
"It's great for us to get those wins away, but we really want to come back and make Allianz [Sydney Football Stadium] a bit of a fortress, the way we have the last couple of years," Foley told the Sydney Morning Herald.
After chancing their arm a lot in the early parts of the season, the Waratahs look to have reined it in, in recent weeks - playing a more 'structured' game.
"The opposition are trying to lull us into a false sense of attacking play, so in that sense we have tried to be a bit smarter in our decisions," Foley said.
"I suppose also in the back field sort of thing, having a bit of a kick drill, but always looking to get the ball back when we're kicking. We're not just kicking aimlessly down the field, we actually kicking for a purpose and kicking for an outcome.
"That's really helped and guys have really bought into owning the detail.
"That's been a big focus for us the last couple of weeks is to really know the detail and for everyone in the squad from 1-23 are across what their role is for the team. I think over the last couple of weeks, guys have learned that and been able to go out and execute."
2015: Waratahs won 58-33, Bloemfontein
2013: Cheetahs won 27-26, Sydney
2012: Cheetahs won 35-34, Bloemfontein
2011: Cheetahs won 23-3, Sydney
2010: Waratahs won 40-17, Sydney
2009: Waratahs won 18-10, Bloemfontein
Prediction: The Cheetahs have won three of their last four matches against the Waratahs, though two of those wins were by a single point. The Waratahs have lost their last three matches on home soil, all by less than a converted try, with their last home triumph coming in the opening round of the season. This will be the Cheetahs' third match in a tour of Australia in which they are yet to register a win; they've won only one of their last seven matches away from home against Australian opposition. On average the Cheetahs have seen one of their scrums per game stolen by the opposition, the most of any team in the competition. The Waratahs have scored 13 tries from possession originating within their own half of the field, the most of any Australian team and the third most in the competition. Travel may be a factor counting against the Waratahs, who travelled west to east across the Indian Ocean. However, the Cheetahs have taken baby steps in their growth this season and may find the Waratahs still have the edge - by 15 to 20 points.
Waratahs: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Reece Robinson, 13 Israel Folau, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Jed Holloway, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Dean Mumm, 5 Will Skelton, 4 David Dennis, 3 Tom Robertson, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Paddy Ryan.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Wycliff Palu, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 David Horwitz, 23 Matt Carraro.
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Nico Lee, 12 Francois Venter (captain), 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Willie Britz, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Elandre Huggett, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Nicolaas van Dyk, 19 Lodewyk de Jager, 20 Uzair Cassiem, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Niel Marais, 23 Michael van der Spuy.
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)
The Sharks mark their return from their overseas leg - which yielded one win and two narrow (18-23 to the Blues and 22-24 to the Chiefs) defeats - with a match against the high-flying Hurricanes.
Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold felt the Hurricanes will pose a similar challenge to the three New Zealand teams they faced on tour.
However, the fact that the Hurricanes are fresh from a match where they put 50 points past the Africa Two conference-leading Lions will give added confidence to the New Zealanders.
"We have a massive challenge coming up this weekend, against a star-studded Hurricanes team," Gold said.
"This team is lethal with ball in hand and we have a huge amount of respect for them.
"However, it's fantastic to be back home and to play in front of our home crowd.
"This is the fourth New Zealand team we are playing in succession and we are excited about the challenge that lies ahead.
"We want to build on our courageous performance against the Chiefs last Friday, and our focus is on being accurate and utilising our opportunities."
Gold made no bones about the fact that his team is willing to win 'ugly' if that is what it takes.
"We want to be a team that gets the balance a little bit better," he said, adding: "We are certainly not going to apologise for winning games in any way we need to.
"First and foremost you need to stop New Zealand teams scoring tries against you.
"Then, when you do have the ball, you need to be more clinical in how you look after it."
The Hurricanes are certainly not underestimating the Sharks, despite their massive win last week.
Hurricanes assistant coach Jason Holland said the Lions win was great for morale, but they had wiped that and were now getting ready for a bigger challenge against the Sharks.
"While we did a lot of things well, there are still a lot of things in our game that we know we can get better at," he said.
He felt the Sharks are probably one of the most improved of South African sides and definitely a challenge.
"It's been interesting seeing the Sharks try a bit more in the last couple of weeks.
"The Sharks in New Zealand could easily have come away with three wins.
"They've got their strength up front with their big boys and they've got a good maul and a good kicking game and Willie le Roux's left foot out the back."
2015: Hurricanes won 32-24, Wellington
2014: Sharks won 27-9, Durban
2012: Hurricanes won 42-18, Wellington
2011: Sharks won 40-24, Durban
2010: Sharks won 29-26, Wellington
2009: Sharks won 33-17, Durban
Prediction: The Sharks have won four of their last six matches against the Hurricanes, though the New Zealand side have won two of the last three including an eight-point win in their most recent encounter. The Sharks return home to where they have lost their last two games; the last time they lost more than two consecutive home games was across the 2009 and 2010 campaigns. The Hurricanes have won their last eight games against teams from South Africa, more than double their next longest streak (three games). The Sharks have scored the second fewest tries so far this season (17) behind the Force (11), but they have also conceded the fewest tries (15). Beauden Barrett has converted more tries this season than any other player (27) and is one of only four players so far this season to have scored more than 100 points. The Sharks have showed marked improvement in the last few weeks and also have a more pragmatic approach to games - which may just be to their benefit against the hard-running Hurricanes. It will not be a rout like last week, but the Hurricanes will win a nailbiter - by seven points or less.
Sharks: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Garth April, 9 Michael Claassens, 8. Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Tendai Mtawarira (captain).
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Patrick Lambie, 23 Odwa Ndungane.
Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Vince Aso, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Reg Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ngani Laumape, 23 Jason Woodward.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Rodney Bonaparte (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
The Blues may still fancy themselves, with an outside chance, of making the play-offs.
But it is no surprise that the Kings are propping up the bottom of the table.
Mentally they never switched on against the Jaguares last week and the result was a 73-27 mauling at the hands of the Argentinean side.
Both coach Deon Davids and captain Steven Sykes this week admitted that it is a mindset change that individuals will have to make to avoid another big hiding.
Davids said that from a defensive point of view they really let themselves down.
"The players have taken accountability and they know how they must fix it," the Kings coach said in the build-up to the Blues encounter.
"What is lacking in our game is our ability to dominate contact, especially on defence.
"That is something we need to, continuously, work on."
Davids described the Blues as a very experienced team, with a few All Blacks in the side.
"They have very strong and tall backs, especially the outside backs," the Kings mentor said, adding: "As we all know, New Zealand teams like to play the game at a very high tempo.
"We are expecting a very tough game."
The Blues said their biggest problem this week is guarding against complacency.
Blues assistant coach Glenn Moore said they had addressed the complacency issue with the side after arriving in Johannesburg, where they were based early in the week before heading to Port Elizabeth.
"We're really focused on the job in hand and the boys have been working really hard on their analysis' stuff, we've been really diligent around what we're eating and how we're preparing," he said in an interview on allblacks.com.
"Our expectation is that we'll go out there and put out a good performance."
These teams have never met before.
Prediction: This will be the first Super Rugby encounter between the Kings and the Blues, though the South African side have lost their last three games against opponents from New Zealand, conceding 157 points in the process. The Blues have won only one of their last 26 matches away from home and haven't won in South Africa since Round Three, 2012. The Blues are the only team yet to score a try after forcing a turnover from the opposition so far this season while the Kings have done so seven times. The Kings are the only South African team with more than one player having won more than 10 turnovers so far this season (Cyril-John Velleman 17 and Chris Cloete 12). The Kings have slowly digressed and the Blues have made some progressed. The Kings might be a bit more energetic on home soil, but the Blues should still win by 20 points or more.
Kings: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Lukhanyo Am, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Luzuko Vulindlu, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 James Hall, 8 Cyril-John Velleman, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 John-Charles Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (captain), 3 Tom Botha, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Sithembiso Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Martin Ferreira, 17 Justin Ackerman, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 Stefan Willemse, 21 Ntando Kebe, 22 Louis Fouche, 23 Leighton Eksteen.
Blues: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 George Moala, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Hoani Matenga, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 Male Sa'u.
Referee: Federico Anselmi
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Archie Sehlako
TMO: Christie du Preez
Compiled by Jan de Koning, with additional reporting from Agence France-Presse
* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports
REPORT: The Sharks scored 24 second half points to blow the Hurricanes away 32-15 in a brutal encounter in Durban on Saturday.
The Sharks did not mess around. From the start they got stuck in, fearlessly and hard. They were simply tougher than the Hurricanes and they won where it counted.
They were stronger in the scrums, won five Hurricanes' line-outs and lost none of their own, they were far stronger in the scrums, scoring a try from one, they won more turnovers and the penalty count was 12-7 in their favour.
The Sharks defence was strong and well organised till the bench emptied late in the match. But it was their determination to attack that showed the biggest change in their functioning. They were zealous in their search for tries - and they could have had a couple more.
Perhaps they will now be rewarded with a fuller Kings Park than they had for this match.
The Hurricanes kicked off and attacked when TJ Perenara tapped the first penalty and raced away but they turned over possession and the Sharks broke out.
The Sharks thought they had scored a try when Tendai Mtawarira won a turnover just outside the Sharks' 22 and Garth April cut through the Hurricanes at speed. Over the Hurricanes' 10-metre line he sped and popped a pass to Paul Jordaan on his left. Jordaan ran a speedy arc to the posts but the TMO tipped the referee off that the pass from April to Jordaan had been forward, and so the 'try' became a scrum to the Hurricanes.
The Sharks were on the run again and Lwazi Mvovo chipped down towards the Hurricanes' line but after he had kicked James Marshall went out of his way to knock the flying Shark over. For this the Hurricanes were penalised and Marshall can consider himself lucky as it appeared to be as cynical an act as any deliberate knock-on. But April goaled the penalty and the Sharks led 3-0 after 15 minutes.
The Hurricanes attacked but the Sharks won a turnover. Back the visitors came with bashing phases but again the Sharks won a turnover. Then, when Jean-Luv du Preez was penalised, Beauden Barrett levelled the scores. 3-3 after 24 minutes.
The Hurricanes attacked again and the Sharks had their work cut out to stop Dane Coles as he darted for the line. The Hurricanes stayed attacking and, as they went left, Marshall passed inside to prop Reggie Goodes who surged over. 8-3 to the Hurricanes after 31 minutes.
Cory Jane had a strong run down the right wing but then Keegan Daniel came on an amazing, long run, starting from nothing just outside his 22. He cut through the middle of the Hurricanes and gave to Daniel du Preez and the next thing Stephan Lewies was stopped just short of the goal-line. The Sharks went left to Mvovo and then wide right to JP Pietersen who stepped inside Julian Savea to score far out on the right. The conversion hit the upright and the half-time score was 8-all. It was the least the Sharks deserved.
The second half started well for the Sharks. Brad Shield, under pressure passed/dropped the ball to his left just inside the Sharks' half. Pietersen flykicked the ball downfield and raced after it, swooping to pick up the rolling ball and dive over for the try. April converted. 15-8 after 44 minutes.
Barrett left the field for a concussion test. Jason Woodward came on to fullback, Marshall moving to flyhalf.
Willie le Roux chipped ahead and chased. Jane was forced to carry over for a five-metre scrum. The Sharks dominated the scrum, the Hurricanes were penalised and Michael Claassens tapped and plunged over for a try which April converted. 22-8 after 52 minutes.
At this stage Patrick Lambie, appointed captain at the start of the season but long injured, replaced April and his first serious act was to kick the penalty when Marshall tackled Franco Marais high, 25-8 after 55 minutes.
Barrett came back, having passed his concussion test.
Coles had a run but again the Hurricanes lost the ball. Jordaan gave to Mvovo who raced down the left. He passed inside to Jordaan who had an empty field ahead of him but Ardie Savea behind him (and Lambie near him) and the flank caught the speedy centre from behind and then intercepted Jordaan's belated effort to get the ball to Lambie. It was a miracle of defence.
From a line-out the Sharks rushed a maul a long way downfield and bashed. The Hurricanes were penalised but the Sharks opted to scrum. From the scrum Lambie and then Jean-Luc du Preez were close. Another penalty and another scrum, and this time the Sharks really dominated, moving forward and wheeling slightly to the right. Daniel du Preez picked up and plunged over for the try, Lambie converting, 32-8 with 10 minutes to play and the Sharks with the bait of a bonus point in front of them.
Instead the Hurricanes attacked with many quick phases till Marshall cut through and scored a try which Woodward converted. 32-15 with 6 minutes left.
In that time the Sharks again had two scrums from which they attacked with André Esterhuizen and then Chiliboy Ralepelle getting close.
It was a good win for the Sharks, especially in the context of the thrashing the Hurricanes gave the Lions last week.
Man of the Match: Sharks are candidates - Willie le Roux, Michael Claassens and Stephan Lewies but our choice is a trinity of loose forwards - Keagan Daniel and the Du Preez twins, Jean-Luc and Daniel.
For the Sharks:
Tries: Pietersen 2, Claassens, D du Preez
Cons: April 2, Lambie
Pens: April, Lambie
For the Hurricanes:
Tries: Goodes, Marshall
Sharks: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Garth April, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Tendai Mtawarira (captain).
Replacements: 16 Mahlatse Ralepelle, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Patrick Lambie, 23 Odwa Ndungane.
Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Reg Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Willis Halaholo, 23 Jason Woodward.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Rodney Bonaparte (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)