Sharks want to ramp up intensity as Quins come roaring at them » Cypher9ja

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The Sharks are expecting Harlequins to come roaring at them in their Champions Cup match in London on Saturday afternoon, but Siya Kolisi’s team has been working hard to ensure they ramp up their intensity at The Stoop.

Harlequins are currently just inside the qualification places in seventh position in Pool A, so they know victory, or at least a couple of bonus points, will nail down a spot in the last 16. The Sharks are not short of motivation either, however, as a win for them will assure them of home ties in the first two knockout rounds.

“We know Harlequins have a lot to play for, they still need some points, and they are obviously going to be motivated to go flat-out against us,” Sharks coach Neil Powell said on Friday.

“We are preparing for a massive battle and we’ve tried to keep the players as fresh as possible so we will have energy on the field, to push that intensity higher.

“It’s about standards, and not just about in the game, but also at training, because if you don’t hit the same intensity there, how can you expect to do it during the match?

“The senior players are driving it, the Springboks, especially Eben Etzebeth and Siya Kolisi, really want to be successful in this competition. Hopefully we reach that intensity on Saturday,” Powell said.

The Sharks beat Harlequins 39-31 in Durban last month, but the English giants were rampant on attack in coming from behind, before Powell’s team scored a last-ditch try to win the game.

“We saw that Harlequins are an 80-minute team from the way they came back in Durban when we were in a comfortable position. They really made it close,” Powell said.

“Admittedly we got yellow and red cards, which gave them motivation. They love to attack with ball-in-hand, so starving them of possession is our responsibility.

“We can’t give their attack opportunities, especially in our half. And Marcus Smith is back at flyhalf, he contributes a lot on attack and is unpredictable,” Powell said.

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Better discipline is obviously going to be crucial then for the Sharks, if they hope to set themselves up nicely for the round of 16 that starts on March 31.

Impending loss

With the impending loss of the Springboks for their compulsory rest period and then a camp, victory is also important for the Sharks to maintain the momentum that has seen their ‘A side’ win their last six games on the trot.

Sharks – Aphelele Fassi, Marnus Potgieter, Lukhanyo Am, Ben Tapuai, Thaakir Abrahams, Curwin Bosch, Jaden Hendrikse, Phepsi Buthelezi, Vincent Tshituka, Siya Kolisi (c), Gerbrandt Grobler, Eben Etzebeth, Thomas du Toit, Kerron van Vuuren, Ox Nche. Bench: Dan Jooste, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Carlu Sadie, Hyron Andrews, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Grant Williams, Lionel Cronje, Francois Venter.

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