URC preview: The Sharks vs Connacht

URC preview: The Sharks vs Connacht

The Sharks will be bracing themselves for a hard grind as the 10th placed Connacht are high on confidence after winning three of their last four away matches, while they are yet to be beaten by a South African side this season

“Connacht is one of the top clubs in the competition and playing them at Hollywoodbets Kings Park is definitely an exciting challenge for us,” said Everitt.

“This is our last pool game at home, and we want to put on a good performance in front of our home fans and make them proud, before travelling to Ireland to take on Ulster.”

Connacht are well aware that they can achieve a special clean sweep over the SA sides.

Connacht Coach Andy Friend said: “Beating all four South African teams would be a tremendous achievement but we’re fully aware we have a significant task ahead of us tomorrow.

“The Sharks have named a side full of Springbok internationals and will have a large and passionate fanbase behind them in Durban.

“That said, the group has taken huge confidence from the win in Johannesburg and the atmosphere around the camp all week has been really positive.”

Teams

Sharks: Aphelele Fassi, Werner Kok, Ben Tapuai, Marius Louw, Makazole Mapimpi, Curwin Bosch, Jaden Hendrikse, Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi, Thomas du Toit (CAPT), Le Roux Roets, Gerbrandt Grobler, Siya Kolisi, Henco Venter, Phepsi Buthelezi

Replacements: Kerron van Vuuren, Ntuthuko Mchunu. Khutha Mchunu, Reniel Hugo, Jeandre Labuschagne, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Grant Williams, Boeta Chamberlain.

Connacht: Mack Hansen, John Porch, Tom Farrell, Tom Daly, Alex Wootton, Conor Fitzgerald, Caolin Blade, Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Leva Fifita, Cian Prendergast, Conor Oliver, Jarrad Butler (CAPT)

Replacements: Dylan Tierney-Martin, Jordan Duggan, Jack Aungier, Niall Murray, Oisín Dowling, Kieran Marmion, Jack Carty, Tiernan O’Halloran.

The Sharks vs Connacht stats and facts

Sharks
Pepsi Buthelezi of the Sharks. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Thanks to relaxed stadium limits last weekend’s match between the Sharks and Leinster was the best attended of the season so far, with 21,823 fans flocking to Kings Park.

 

Few teams put boot to ball as consistently as the Sharks, who have racked up 425 kicks in play and gained 12,528 metres with the boot – both leading figures in the URC.

Connacht Flyhalf Jack Carty is making a strong case to add to his 11 Ireland caps.

Carty went past 100 points for the season during Connacht’s win against the Lions and now sits 2nd in the URC with 114, behind the Stormers’ Manie Libbok (139).

The Sharks have lost just one of their last eight URC matches – a 21-5 home defeat to Edinburgh on March 26.

Connacht are on a 9-match winning streak against South African opposition since the Cheetahs beat them by a single point in Bloemfontein in March 2018.

Match info

Sharks vs Connacht

Date: Saturday, 30 April

Venue: Kings Park, Durban

SA Time: 16:05

Referee: Mike Adamson

TV: SuperSport

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