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|13||D. D. Preez|
The seventh and sixth-ranked teams do battle tonight, when the Waratahs host the Sharks at the glistening new Bankwest Stadium. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog from 7:45pm AEST.
Previous to a three-point victory at the SCG last Saturday, the Waratahs were coming off successive losses to the Sunwolves and Blues, and now look to rack up a second win.
They’re midtable at the moment, coming in at seven, but with a hot-cold record this year: only once winning two games in a row.
In the logjam that is the Super Rugby ladder, they’re still in the top eight with just four wins, while the Sharks also have four ‘W’s, with their six bonus points propping them up.
The Crusaders are their biggest scalp, yet they’ve lost to the Sunwolves, Brumbies and Blues.
The Sharks are the same, sixth place flatters them. A 42-5 upset against the Lions is their high point, but a pair of tame losses to the Bulls as well as a thrashing at the hands of the Jaguares are their games to forget.
With three losses from four games on their Trans-Tasman stretch last year, there’s plenty lacking in the tour department.
Last season’s clash between these teams ended in a 24-all draw, but the year before it was the Sharks by 23 points in Durban.
Should the Stormers, Chiefs and Crusaders all win, the Waratahs could, with a bonus point win, put themselves up to second on the ladder, while a loss would leave them vulnerable to potentially be overtaken by the Chiefs and Highlanders, the winner of Jaguares-Brumbies and the Stormers.
In team news: there’s a few changes for both clubs, with Curtis Rona sliding in for Alex Newsome on the wing, while Tolu Latu returns from suspension to knock Andrew Tuala from the 23.
The Sharks drop Robert du Preez junior to the pine, and elevate Curwin Bosch to the starting flyhalf role. Halfback and captain Louis Schreuder joins the reserves, which makes Cameron Wright the scrumhalf, with Makazole Mapimpi and Lukhanyo Am entering the 15.
There’s plenty of uncertainty around the South African conference at the moment, and you’d back NSW to get the job done at their new stadium.
Venue: Bankwest Stadium
Time: 7:45pm AEST
Referee: Nic Berry
Odds: Waratahs $1.40, Sharks $3
Beast Mtawarira (C)
Kerron van Vuuren
Thomas du Toit
Ruben van Heerden
Philip van der Walt
Jean-Luc du Preez
Daniel du Preez
Akker van der Merwe
Robert du Preez