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The Reds will be right up against it, but must find a way to win when they take on a strong Sharks outfit in Durban. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 11:05pm (AEDT).
The Queensland-based outfit come into this match sitting fourth in the Australian conference, on just 14 points, and simply must start winning if they want to be chance of sneaking into the finals.
While there are still plenty of matches remaining this season, the Reds are on a difficult South African trip and can set themselves up for a strong second half of the season with a victory here.
They kicked off their tour last week with a tough loss at the hands of the Bulls, where they were bullied in the forwards and simply didn’t have the defensive work rate or intensity to go with the side who now sit at the top of the South African conference.
Their defence has been poor throughout 2019 though, with a tackle accuracy of just 29 per cent, and 67 penalties conceded. While they are yet to lose a lineout, if they can’t pick up their defence, this might be a cakewalk for the home side.
The Reds haven’t had a Super Rugby win in South Africa since 2015 either, while the Sharks haven’t lost a single match in their last ten to an Australian side at home.
The South African conference has been a tough-run thing, and the Sharks will be equally as desperate for a win here, with the top spot likely to be decided by a point or two at the end of the season.
The inconsistency of all five teams in the conference makes it hard to get a read on which Sharks side will turn up to this game, with results all over the place.
They struggled last week, falling at home to the Jaguares by a score of 51-17, but going to show how up and down things are, they smoked grand finalists the Lions the week before.
The home side come into this game without Test backs Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi, which the Reds may see as their best chance to win. If their forwards can match it, then getting the ball out wide and aiming for plenty of points will be the way to go.
The Sharks do have a strong pack though, led by Test prop Coenie Oosthuizen, and the sides average gain per of 10.1 metres is well above the Reds, so it’ll be easier said than done for the Aussie outfit.
The Sharks are at home and desperate to keep pace with the Bulls at the top of the South African conference. They shouldn’t lose here.
Sharks by 12.
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of this match from 11:05pm (AEDT) and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.
Kick-off: 11:05pm (AEDT)
Venue: Kings Park Stadium, Durban
TV: Live, Fox Sports
Online: Live, Foxtel app, Foxtel now, Kayo Sports
Betting: Sharks $1.21, Reds $4.45
Overall record: Played 22, Reds 12, Sharks 10
Last meeting: Feb 24, 2017 – Reds 28 defeat Sharks 26 at Suncorp Stadium
Referee: Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
1. Beast Mtawarira, 2. Kerron van Vuuren, 3. Coenie Oosthuizen, 4. Ruben van Heerden, 5. Hyron Andrews, 6. Philip van der Walt, 7. Jacques Vermeulen, 8. Daniel du Preez, 9. Louis Schreuder (c), 10. Robert du Preez, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 13. Kobus van Wyk, 14. Sbu Nkosi, 15. Curwin Bosch
Bench: 16. Fez Mbatha, 17. Juan Schoeman, 18. Thomas du Toit, 19. Tyler Paul, 20. Jean-Luc du Preez, 21. Cameron Wright, 22. Marius Louw, 23. Aphelele Fassi
1. Harry Hoopert, 2. Alex Mafi, 3. Taniela Tupou, 4. Izack Rodda, 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 6. Angus Scott-Young, 7. Liam Wright, 8. Scott Higginbotham, 9. Tate McDermott, 10. Bryce Hegarty, 11. Jack Hardy, 12. Samu Kerevi (c), 13. Chris Feauai-Sautia, 14. Sefa Naivalu, 15. Hamish Stewart
Bench: 16. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 17. JP Smith, 18. Ruan Smith, 19. Harry Hockings, 20. Adam Korczyk, 21. Moses Sorovi, 22. Duncan Paia’aua, 23. Jock Campbell