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Super Rugby Preview: Chiefs v Sharks

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Thursday, May 9, 2019    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Match Details: Chiefs v Sharks, FMG Stadium Waikato, 7.35pm, Saturday, May 11, 2019

Played: 22
Won: Chiefs 11, Sharks 11
Last time: Chiefs 24-28 Sharks, Durban, May 19, 2018
Referee: Nic Berry

QUICK TAP: MORE INJURIES FRUSTRATE CHIEFS
FORM

The Chiefs have managed only three wins, during a mid-season run when beating the Bulls 56-20a, the Jaguares 30-27a and the Blues 33-29. They started with four consecutive losses against the Highlanders 27-30, the Brumbies 17-54a, the Sunwolves 15-30 and the Crusaders 28-57a. In the last three weeks they have lost two games, to the Lions 17-23 and the Hurricanes 19-47a and drawn 31-31a with the Highlanders. The Sharks have had a mixed season for five wins and five losses and a draw. Successes were against the Sunwolves 45-10a, the Blues 26-7, the Rebels 28-14, the Lions 42-5a and the Waratahs 23-15a. They lost to the Stormers 11-16, the Bulls 14-37a, the Bulls 16-19, the Jaguares 17-51 and the Reds 14-21 while drawing with the Crusaders 21-21.

DESPERATE TIMES

Any hopes of the Chiefs getting up to contest the playoffs this year will depend on a winning showing against the Sharks. That would only be a starting point as a consistent run of success would need to follow. But the job won't come much harder than dealing with the challenge the Sharks will bring. Chiefs coach Colin Cooper said: "The Sharks are a powerful pack and are coming off a strong performance against the Crusaders. Again we will be challenged this week. In order for us to be successful we need to capitalise on our opportunities and remain focused on delivering our game for a full 80 minutes. [If] we do this then we will continue the momentum from where we finished last week and deliver an improved performance."

ANOTHER CHANCE FOR BOSCH

Curwin Bosch has retained the first five-eighths position for the Chiefs game and has been given a ringing endorsement by his skipper and halfback Louis Schreuder. Bosch has been in a contest for the role with the Sharks coach's son and namesake Robert du Preez, but in recent weeks he has taken the chance to establish himself in the role. "He has gone well. He played very well against the Waratahs, he played very well against the Crusaders, controlling the game, getting us good territory, taking the points when they were on offer. I think Curwin has grown, he has really matured into the role. He has really stepped up, and hopefully he can continue," Schreuder said.

THE SCOOP

Chiefs second five-eighths Anton Lienert-Brown leads the competition in offloads having made 28, nine more than any other player.

FAST FACT

The Sharks have been unbeaten in the last four games against New Zealand sides and are looking for their first back-to-back wins over the Chiefs since 2008-09.

TEAMS:

Chiefs: 1.Atu Moli, 2.Nathan Harris, 3.Nepo Laulala, 4.Tyler Ardron, 5.Mitchell Brown, 6.Jesse Parete, 7.Mitchell Karpik 8.Luke Jacobson, 9.Brad Weber, 10.Marty McKenzie, 11.Etene Nanai-Seturo, 12.Anton Lienert-Brown, 13.Tumua Manu, 14.Sean Wainui, 15.Solomon Alaimalo.

Substitutes: 16.Liam Polwart, 17.Ryan Coxon, 18.Angus Ta'avao, 19.Taleni Seu, 20.Pita Gus Sowakula, 21.Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22.Shaun Stevenson, Alex Nankivell.

Sharks: 1.Thomas du Toit, 2.Kerron van Vuuren, 3.Coenie Oosthuizen, 4.Hyron Andrews, 5.Ruan Botha, 6.Jacques Vermeulen, 7.Jean-Luc du Preez, 8.Philip van der Walt, 9.Louis Schreuder (captain), 10.Curwin Bosch, 11.Makazole Mapimpi, 12.Marius Louw, 13.Lukhanyo Am, 14.Sbu Nkosi, 15.Aphelele Fassi.

Substitutes: 16.Fezokuhle Mbatha, 17.Mzamo Majola, 18.John-Hubert Meyer, 19.Tyler Paul, 20.Luke Stringer, 21.Cameron Wright, 22.Robert du Preez, 23.Kobus Van Wyk.