Scrumming talisman 'Beast' Mtawarira's return excites Sharks coach Du Preez
The return of Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira for the Sharks' Super Rugby date against the Highlanders on Saturday can only mean one thing: An impending scrum annihilation for the visitors.
There are a lot of things Aaron Mauger's chaotic side did well in their 29-28 win against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld but scrumming wasn't one of them.
The Bulls have been a decent scrumming side but not one that's a scrumming benchmark.
However‚ they were more than what the Highlanders could chew on but Mauger‚ who was a resourceful All Black and Crusaders inside centre‚ has passed on the quality to this team.
Sharks coach Robert du Preez was happy with the return of his scrumming talisman in what will be a crucial game for his side.
“It's always great to have a player of Beast's calibre coming back.
"He's playing some of the best rugby of his career but having said that‚ I think Jean Schoeman had a great game against the Stormers but it's always fantastic to have Beast back‚” Du Preez said.
Mtawarira is one of three changes from the Sharks side that somehow saw off the Stormers in a boring fixture two weeks ago.
Mtawarira comes in for Schoeman while Akker van der Merwe and Tyler Paul swap with Mahlatse “Chilliboy” Ralepelle and Stephan Lewies respectively.
Du Preez knows the Sharks have promised more than they've delivered at home and with the Jaguares having made a play for second spot‚ the need to win home games is now paramount for the inconsistent Durban side.
“We're playing at home and we need to win our home games. This is going to be a massive game for us.
"The Highlanders will have taken encouragement from their performance against the Bulls because they're a good side.
"We're here to win and have to win this game‚” Du Preez said.
“Our performances against the New Zealand teams will certainly give the boys confidence but every game is a new game.
"These guys play a good game of rugby.
"They keep the ball and they're relentless on defence.
"We'll have to break them down and we have to be patient. We know what they have in Ben Smith and he's a class act and their half-backs are very good.”
Sharks – 15 Curwin Bosch‚ 14 Sbu Nkosi‚ 13 Lukhanyo Am‚ 12 André Esterhuizen‚ 11 Makazole Mapimpi‚ 10 Rob du Preez‚ 9 Cameron Wright‚ 8 Dan du Preez‚ 7 Jean-Luc du Preez‚ 6 Philip van der Walt‚ 5 Ruan Botha (c)‚ 4 Tyler Paul‚ 3 Thomas du Toit‚ 2 Akker van der Merwe‚ 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Franco Marais‚ 17 Juan Schoeman‚ 18 Ross Geldenhuys‚ 19 Stephan Lewies‚ 20 Jacques Vermeulen‚ 21 Louis Schreuder‚ 22 Marius Louw‚ 23 Lwazi Mvovo