Coach Robert du Preez expects resurgent Kings to be on fire
Wary Sharks coach Robert du Preez has warned his team they can expect a hostile reception when they face a resurgent Southern Kings outfit in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
When the teams met in Durban earlier in the season, the Sharks scored a narrow 19-17 Super Rugby win after Curwin Bosch nailed a monster late penalty.
Du Preez knows his team will be up against it at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, where Kings officials are expecting a partisan crowd of more than 20 000 to back the home side.
“There’s definitely no complacency for this weekend’s game in Port Elizabeth,” Du Preez said.
“We had a tough game against the Force and the guys were sore afterwards.
“The Kings match is going to be tough in PE.
“They’re already talking up a storm for this match, but we’ll be ready.”
With only two defeats in 10 outings, the Sharks are gaining momentum and they will be keen to maintain the challenge for honours.
Sharks assistant coach Sean Everitt warned there was nothing to gain from underestimating the Kings.
“We are aware of what’s coming on Saturday. I see it’s been written up in the media, so we’re prepared for it,” Everitt said
“The Kings have been consistent, they’ve played well and we’ll prepare as well as we can to go down there and turn them over.”
Everitt identified the spine of the Kings’ backline as a particular danger area they will need to watch.
“The decision-makers in the backline are performing well. We’ll have to look to nullify that by putting them under pressure,” he said.
Kings coach Deon Davids said the Sharks would arrive in Port Elizabeth with their confidence high after good performances in their last two outings.
“The Sharks know from our first meeting in Durban that it will be a contest,” he said.
“We cannot focus on what happened in the past. It is going to be a total new approach with a lot of confidence, so we really need to be at our best from the start and have good focus.
“The Kings have to ensure that we start well and use our opportunities.
“I don’t think our discipline was too good in our last game, that is something we have to improve on.
“If that happens against a quality side like the Sharks they will capitalise on that.
“It is now a new focus and we are expecting a tough game and have a lot of respect for the Sharks.”
Davids said the return of flyhalf Patrick Lambie from injury was a big boost for the Sharks.
“Lambie is a quality player. You could immediately see the difference when he got back into the side against the Force at the weekend,” he said.
“You could see that in the way he managed the game and the confidence he brings to his players. That is a tremendous factor.
“The Sharks also have other quality players coming back from injury and they have momentum.”
Asked if he had a plan to contain Lambie, Davids said: “We are not going to focus on individuals.
“We look at an overall approach in terms of our own strengths and then we will obviously be looking for opportunities in terms of weaknesses in the opposition.
“There are not a lot of weaknesses with the Sharks so we will have to be willing to work very hard to create some chances and to look after our own possession.
“Whenever we get a chance we need to make sure we covert that into points and that will be crucial,” Davids said.