The physical battle will play a crucial role in determining the outcome of the coastal derby in the Super 14 between the Vodacom Stormers and the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
That is the viewpoint of Vodacom Stormers coach Kobus van der Merwe. And prop Eddie Andrews shares that point of view.
Van der Merwe expects things to get warm between the two packs of forwards.
“They are a very physical team. They have physical players in Johan Ackerman, AJ Venter, John Smit, who are all experienced guys. It will be a typical local derby with a lot of intensity,” Van der Merwe said this week.
“I don’t think there will be any quarter given by any of the team. That is why I say we really have to be mentally well prepared for this game.”
Springbok prop Andrews agreed that the battle up front could be the deciding factor. “I think our guys have been motivated for a performance such as that (against the Crusaders), but we know the Sharks will be tougher.
“Most of the guys haven’t beaten the Crusaders during the last couple of seasons, so that was a very good win. But we know the Sharks will come for us with their pack and we need to be on top of our game if we want to win there.”
He said the Stormers pack surprised a lot of people this season. “If you look at whole season, our scrum went well, the lineouts went well – it is just that we haven’t combined the whole effort at times.
“We know, however, that the Sharks are a good scrumming unit and well organised. But we look forward to the challenge.”
Teams for Durban:
Sharks: 15 Brent Russell, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Andries Strauss, 12 Bradley Barritt, 11 Adrian Jacobs, 10 Percy Montgomery, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 AJ Venter, 7 Jacques Botes, 6 Warren Britz, 5 Johann Muller, 4 Johan Ackermann, 3 BJ Botha, 2 John Smit (captain), 1 Deon Carstens
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Albert van den Berg, 19 Keegan Daniels, 20 Scott Mathie, 21 Waylon Murray 22 JP Pietersen.
Vodacom Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 Marius Joubert, 12 De Wet Barry (captain), 11 Jean De Villiers, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Neil De Kock, 8 Joe van Niekerk, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Luke Watson, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Ross Skeate, 3 Eddie Andrews, 2 Hanyani Shimange, 1 JD Moller.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Neil Fullard, 18 Gerrie Britz, 19 Adri Badenhorst, 20 Bolla Conradie, 21 Naas Olivier, 22 Chumani Booi
Referee: Willie Roos (South Africa)