Sharks embracing tough start

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 14:01

REACTION: The Reds have struggled in the last few seasons of Super Rugby, but they will be no pushovers this time around says Sharks head coach Robert du Preez.

The Sharks depart for Australia on Saturday and they will start their Super Rugby campaign against the Reds next Friday in Brisbane.

The Queenslanders have strengthened their squad significantly ahead of this year's tournament and many feel they will be a tough team to beat in 2017.

Wallabies Scott Higginbotham, Quade Cooper, Stephen Moore and Leroy Houston have all returned to Brisbane. They have also secured the services of veteran loose forward George Smith as well.

"They [Reds] have assembled a really good squad," said Du Preez.

"Stephen Moore, the Australian captain, is with them. They also got George Smith and [Scott] Higginbotham and some really good backs. They will certainly be a different proposition this time around."

A two-match tour to Australia is a tough start for the Durban-based franchise, but Du Preez is optimistic that his team can pick up some valuable points on the road.

After their match against the Reds next week the Sharks will travel to Canberra to face the Brumbies before returning to Durban to take on the Waratahs.  

"We would like to win both [Reds and Brumbies] games," Du Preez added.

"We definitely want to improve on the previous two [pre-season] games that we had. We will concentrate on our processes and getting two wins out of the tour will be fantastic."

@rugby365com

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Mon, 20 February 2017
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16h30 Durban
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 11h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 08h45 Melbourne
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
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Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
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Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9