Durban - Reds coach Brad Thorn expects a tough encounter against the Sharks at Kings Park on Friday.
The Sharks were humbled 51-17 by the Jaguares at the same ground last weekend and Thorn, whose charges lost 32-17 to the Bulls in Pretoria, expects a backlash from the Durbanites.
“We’ve arrived in Durban in preparation for a tough challenge in playing the Sharks. After last week’s result, they’ll be hungry and looking to put in a big performance in front of their home fans,” Thorn told the Reds’ official website.
Thorn, meanwhile, made three changes to his starting XV for the clash on Easter Friday.
After being rested last week in accordance with Rugby Australia’s workload management policy, Sefa Naivalu is back and takes his place on the wing.
“It’s great to have Sefa back. He was missed last week. After sitting out against the Bulls, he’s ready to rip in,” Thorn added.
Prop Harry Hoopert will earn his first Super Rugby start, while Angus Scott-Young has been promoted off the bench and into the No 6 jersey seeing Lukhan Salakaia-Loto shift back to lock.
There are a further three changes to the bench, as JP Smith and Harry Hockings drop to the bench this week.
After making his Reds debut in South Africa four years ago against the Bulls in Pretoria, University of Queensland loose forward Adam Korczyk could potentially play his first game of 2019 after being added to the 23-man squad.
“Harry Hoopert gets an opportunity to start for the first time. It’s reward for his hard work and as a group we congratulate this achievement.
“Apart from Scott Higginbotham, the starting forward pack all played Queensland under-20s with each other. They’ve all worked and grown together since then. It goes to show the strength and importance of the Queensland pathway,” Thorn concluded.
Friday's clash at Kings Park is scheduled for 15:05.
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Kobus van Wyk, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 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
15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Sefa Naivalu , 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi (captain), 11 Jack Hardy, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 Harry Hoopert
Substitutes: 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