sbu nkosi sharks super rugby

Sbu Nkosi during a pre-season 2019 Super Rugby fixture. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Everything you need to know about the Sharks vs Blues

The Sharks have won 11 of the previous 12 clashes against the Blues with a winning margin of 10 points each game. Will they win their first game at home this Saturday?

sbu nkosi sharks super rugby

Sbu Nkosi during a pre-season 2019 Super Rugby fixture. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

The Sharks are set to host the Blues at Kings Park in Durban this Saturday.

For LIVE Super Rugby updates, head over to our Super Rugby session to find the fixture.

While the Sharks got off to a great start against the Sunwolves last week by winning 45-10, they are looking to secure their first win at home to avoid having to play catch-up rugby later on.

“It’s massive, really important that we win all our home games,” Sharks Head coach Robert du Preez said on the Sharks’ official website.  “If we want to be in contention for the play-offs, we need to win every game at home. This first one here is massive for us.”

In last weekend’s match against the Sunwolves, the Sharks’ forwards really fronted up and that control laid the platform for the backline to exploit:

“It’s a case of ‘let’s have more of that,’” captain Louis Schreuder explained.

“Every game is imported upfront, we have to dominate. The Blues are a quality outfit and we have to try nullify the brand of rugby they want to play. Especially with the team they’ve picked. So if we can carry on from last week’s start, that will be great.”

Sharks team and injury news

Head coach Robert du Preez named the same side that won against the Sunwolves last week. He only made two changes on the bench; Thomas du Toit will return at prop and Curwin Bosch, who had a shoulder niggle following the pre-season, is back to full fitness.

Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (c), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Phepsi Buthelezi, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Curwin Bosch

Blues team and injury news

After coming off the bench in the season opener, the Blues welcome three All Blacks into its starting line-up to take on the Sharks in Durban.

Props Ofa Tuungafasi and Karl Tu’inukuafe join Sonny Bill Williams in the run-on side for the second round of the Super Rugby tournament, following their 24-22 loss to defending champions, the Crusaders at home last weekend.

Tu’inukuafe and Tuungafasi make their first start together for the Blues, but both have also paired up with the All Blacks.

The remainder of the pack is the same that started against the Crusaders, including All Blacks Dalton Papalii and captain Patrick Tuipulotu.

Williams starts in his customary second five position with the in-form TJ Faiane at centre, while Ma’a Nonu is sidelined after his first game back in Super Rugby after four years last week.

Caleb Clarke moves to the right wing after a superb pre-season with star All Black Rieko Ioane on the left wing, while the free-running Melani Nanai, impressive against the Crusaders, moves to fullback.

Another New Zealand under-20s player Tanielu Tele’a is positioned for his debut off the bench.

Blues: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Caleb Clarke, 13 TJ Faiane, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Otere Black, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (c), 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe

Substitutes: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Matt Matich, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Tanielu Tele’a

Kick-off time

Saturday, 23 February 2019 at 15:00 (SAST).

TV & Live Stream

SuperSport 1 (subscription required) at 14:50 (SAST).

Super Rugby form (most recent result first)

Sharks: W

Blues: L