Super Rugby: Sharks take on the Highlanders in Durban
Last Updated: 24/04/14 12:58pm
Table-topping Sharks will be determined to finish off on a high, before leaving on their overseas trip when they host the Highlanders in Durban.
The Durban-based outfit are currently sitting at the top of the table and as this is their last match before heading off on their tour to Australasia for matches against the Rebels, Brumbies, Crusaders and Blues.
Jake White's side are yet to lose at Kings Park Stadium after six games and their only defeat from eight matches was suffered against the Bulls in Pretoria.
And although they haven't lost to the New Zealanders for nine years, White says his team will not under-estimate their opponents when they clash.
"There is no doubt that this year they are way better than they were last year," White said. "Ben Smith and Aaron Smith are probably the two form players in New Zealand."
Sharks centre Paul Jordaan returns to action after spending six weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury.
The Highlanders are currently in eighth spot in the overall standings with 19 points from seven matches and their four victories.
Coach Jamie Joseph will rely heavily on experienced All Blacks duo Ben Smith and Aaron Smith to lead the way.
They suffered a setback when veteran lock Brad Thorn tore his bicep in the victory over the Bulls, which has put his season in doubt and ruled him out of their tour to South Africa but the Dunedin-based outfit have solid cover in Jarrad Hoeata, Joe Wheeler and Josh Bekhuis who are all in the matchday squad.
Sharks: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 S'bura Sithole, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Charl McLeod, 1 Tendai Mtawarira, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (c), 3 Jannie du Plessis, 4 Willem Alberts, 5 Stephan Lewies, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Jean Deysel, 8 Keegan Daniel.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Ryan Kankowski, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Heimar Williams, 23 SP Marais.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith. 1 Kane Hames, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Shane Christie, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Chris King, 2 Liam Coltman
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Ma'afu Fia, 19 Josh Bekhuis, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Trent Renata, 23 John Hardie.
Super Rugby 2014 Round 11
Western Force moved third in the Super Rugby standings after Sias Ebersohn kicked them to 15-9 victory over the Bulls.
Hurricanes moved top of the New Zealand conference with a 35-21 bonus-point triumph over the Reds on Saturday.
Highlanders ran in four tries as they pulled off a shock 34-18 victory over Super Rugby leaders Sharks at Kings Park.