Sharks last lost to Blues in 2005 -Will they lose on Firday ?

This week, the Sharks will go from their toughest to their favourite opponent from New Zealand when they travel to Albany to take on the Blues in their final Vodacom Super Rugby tour match on Friday morning.

Last weekend’s win over the Crusaders was their first ever in Christchurch, but on Friday, the Cell C Sharks will be looking for their sixth away victory over the Blues.

The KwaZulu-Natalians will also be looking to stretch an impressive winning run that goes back more than nine years, to 16 April 2005 when they last lost to the team from Auckland. Since then, the Cell C Sharks have won nine straight – the South African winning streak against any team from abroad – which includes three away victories, of which two at were at Eden Park and one in Albany.

The Sharks also seem to enjoy playing the Blues in and around Auckland, where they have won five out of seven – much better than their away record against the Chiefs (won three out of nine), Hurricanes (won three out of eight and one draw), Highlanders (won four out of eight) and the Crusaders (won one from 11).

The Blues have been up and down this year, but one thing is for sure – they know how to create tries out of nothing, which is something the Cell C Sharks have taken notice of.

“We are going to have to defend,” said Sharks Director of Rugby, Jake White.

“I don’t think they will kick as much as the Crusaders did – they’ll definitely try run it back at us and they’ve got some dangerous outside backs.

“But, in saying that, we need to make sure that the rest of our game is good enough as well, we can’t rely on defence only. We got away with it against the Crusaders but I don’t think you can defend like that week in and week out. We are going to have to create some pressure when we are attacking as well.”

The teams are:

Blues: Lolagi Visinia, Frank Halai, Pita Ahki, Ma’a Nonu, Tevita Li, Simon Hickey, Bryn Hall, Jerome Kaino, Luke Braid (captain), Peter Saili, Tom Donnelly, Patrick Tuipulotu, Charlie Faumuina, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock. Replacements: James Parsons, Sam Prattley, Angus Ta’avao, Hayden Triggs, Steven Luatua, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ihaia West, Albert Nikoro.

Cell C Sharks: SP Marais, JP Pietersen, S’bura Sithole, Paul Jordaan, Lwazi Mvovo, Frans Steyn, Cobus Reinach, Willem Alberts, Jacques Botes, Tera Mtembu, Stephan Lewies, Etienne Oosthuizen, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis (captain), Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Kyle Cooper, Dale Chadwick, Lourens Adriaanse, Ryan Kankowski, Keegan Daniel, Charl McLeod, Tim Swiel, Heimar Williams.

Head to head (since 1998)

Blues Sharks
4 Won 13
13 Lost 4
0 Drawn 0
353 Points for 426
426 Points against 353
39 Tries scored 43
43 Tries conceded 39
21 Average score 25

Blues v Sharks

Date: Friday, 23 May

SA Time: 09h35

Venue: North Harbour Stadium, Albany

Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)

Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Aki Aso (Japan)

Television match official: Aaron Peterson (New Zealand)

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About Martin Myers
Music Supervisor / Artist and Talent Manager / Publicist / Music Exchange Founder / Owner Triple M Entertainment

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