Du Preez warns the Sharks tread carefully against Chiefs
Sharks flyhalf Robert du Preez has been at the heart of everything good the Sharks have conjured against the New Zealand side.
The inverse is also applicable in their failures against the other Super Rugby franchises.
With the Sharks having dropped points against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld over the weekend‚ they have to beat what will be a weakened Chiefs side that is without 20 of their first choice players.
Five of them have gone back to New Zealand to attend a national team training camp in preparation for next month's series against France.
But these are the Sharks and they've produced a shade darker than their customary black when confronted by New Zealand opponents.
Competitive doesn't describe the manner in which they blew the Highlanders and the Blues out of the water while the Hurricanes had to dig deep to keep the Sharks at bay in Napier.
Du Preez said they've been able to raise their game for New Zealand opposition but that's also been their downfall in what has been an inconsistent campaign.
Du Preez also said the Chiefs will be dangerous customers despite their relative weakness.
“If you tell them you've cracked their code‚ they'll change their code but we've had some success against the New Zealand teams. I wouldn't say we've cracked any code‚" Du Preez said.
"I just think we lift ourselves and I think that's also part of our problem this season where he haven't quite been there mentally against the South African teams.
"It's been easy to pick ourselves up for the New Zealand teams and I think that's been part of the issue. We've done well against New Zealand teams and they'll be prepared for that.
“A New Zealand franchise can put out a team with zero Super Rugby caps and they can still be sharp. That's just the way they are.
"They can churn out players like they're nothing so we can't take this game lightly. We've got a job to do and it's more about us.
"Whether they put out a full strength squad or a third-string unit‚ we still have a job to do.”
Sharks hooker Mahlatse “Chiliboy” Ralepelle won't be fronting up against the same front row that squashed the Stormers but felt the Chiefs are still a dangerous side without their All Blacks.
A Chiefs forward pack shorn of the services of Brodie Retallick‚ Nathan Harris and Sam Cane look like an easier challenge but the Sharks have a tendency of losing games they've been backed to win and vice-versa.
“I don't think that will change anything at all. If there's anything that I think will change‚ they will have 10 hungrier players who haven't had a chance at this level if they make 10 changes.
"We have to be disciplined and we can't gift the unnecessary possession. Discipline is going to be a key factor for us‚ whether have possession or not‚” Ralepelle said.
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