Durban - Sharks prop Coenie Oosthuizen says they are expecting a massive battle against Western Province at Newlands on Saturday.
Both teams are unbeaten after four matches in this year’s Currie Cup, with Saturday’s winner likely to take a big step in topping the overall standings.
Springbok prop Oosthuizen, who made his return to action last weekend in the win over the Golden Lions after an agonising 10-month injury layoff, has made no secret of the importance of the clash.
“They’re a phenomenal team, also unbeaten, and we know there is plenty of pressure on us for this game, even if we’re also unbeaten,” he said via a press statement released by the Sharks.
“Although we have won all the games so far and it is easier when you’re winning rather than losing, the job doesn’t change. It doesn’t matter how good you were the last game, the next game is the most important thing.
“So, there’s pressure to perform and pressure to be your best and always pressure for the team to bring their best. You’re only as good as your last game and we’re not resting on our past victories, we do our preparation 100% and respect every opposition. Western Province deserve every bit of respect they have earned.
“We’re feeling the pressure on us to win, but each and every one of us is up for the challenge, we want to win this game, we want to remain unbeaten in the tournament.”
Head coach Robert du Preez has made just two changes to his match-day 22, with No 6 Jacques Vermeulen returning to the starting line-up after returning to action and playing off the bench, swapping jerseys with Luke Stringer.
The second change is on the bench, with Leolin Zas coming in for Sbu Nkosi who is on Bok duty.
Saturday’s clash is scheduled for 14:00.
15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 SP Marais, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Michael Kumbirai, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Ali Vermaak
Substitutes: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Chris Massyn, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 JJ Engelbrecht
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle (captain), 1 Juan Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Ruben van Heerden, 19 Luke Stringer, 20 Cameron Wright, 21 Leolin Zas, 22 Aphelele Fassi