Crusaders prop Owen Franks is expecting a fired up Sharks outfit tomorrow night in Christchurch and says the defending Super Rugby champions aren't taking them lightly.
The Sharks haven't played against the Crusaders at all this season but have beaten three New Zealand Super Rugby sides in 2018 (Blues, Highlanders and Chiefs) and lost to the Hurricanes 38-37 in round eight.
"They are going to chuck everything at it, they're physical team and they'll try test us up front," said Franks.
"It's a good challenge for us and I'm looking forward to it."
The Crusaders prop said the Sharks will be a different challenge from their fellow South African counterparts.
"Really explosive attack and not so much typical African play, they chuck the ball around and have really good counter-attack.
"But they also got their big guys they play off as well and they have a good record against Kiwi teams this year so that has the hairs on the neck standing up."
The winner of tomorrow's match will take on the winner of tonight's quarter-final between the Hurricanes and Chiefs.
The Crusaders are heavy favourites for their quarter-final match in Christchurch.
Source: 1 NEWS
Four New Zealand teams battle it out this weekend as they look to cement their spots in next week's semi-finals, 1 NEWS NOW's rugby expert Campbell Burnes breaks down this weekend's action.
Hurricanes v Chiefs: Hurricanes by 2
Time for the Hurricanes’ pack and the Barrett boys to stand up and show that recent form was just an aberration. Time for Ben Lam to score another try. Time for the Hurricanes to show they do not rely that heavily on Ardie Savea to get them going.
Time to give Jeff Toomaga-Allen a nice gift for his 100th outing. As for the Chiefs, all the form pointers are in their favour. Moreover, they have two fetchers in their loose trio, while the Canes have opted for muscular ball carriers in the loose. D Mac versus Beauden Barrett should be decisive and instructive. But if the latter fires, the home side will get up… just.
Crusaders v Sharks: Crusaders by 27
The Sharks are being accorded a lot of respect for a side that has virtually no chance. If they win, it will rank as just about the biggest upset in Super Rugby since the 2008 Highlanders beat the Crusaders in Christchurch, regardless of the TAB odds.
The Crusaders have some key men back from rest and just look irrepressible and nigh on unbeatable. The Sharks will target the scrum (over to you, Beast) but they will need more breadth to their game to trouble the home team.
Lima Sopoaga of the Highlanders in action during the Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Lions played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
Waratahs v Highlanders: Highlanders by 7
If rugby were that simple, you might say this clash in Sydney boils down to the Highlanders pack against the Waratahs backs, where Taqele Naiyaravoro is poised on 15 tries for the season. In truth, the Highlanders backs can strike from anywhere.
As long as they do not overdo the kicking, we should see a far different chain of events that occurred when the Waratahs ended the trans-Tasman hoodoo with a 41-12 victory some time ago. The aerial battle between Israel Folau and Ben Smith, if they are allowed to contest, will be worth the price of admission alone. But it will not be the deciding factor as the Highlanders will win the collision and the loose ball.
Chiefs flanker Mitchell Karpik is tackled by Hurricanes winger Ben Lam.
New Zealand's five-time World Cup winning women's rugby team, the Black Ferns, will for the first time have their faces on Weet-Bix's iconic collector cards.
Weet-Bix began featuring All Blacks on their cards from 1999 in the players' series, however this is the first time the Black Ferns will feature on the collector cards with Sanitarium's new sponsorship deal of the team.
The world champions will be in the 'Play Big' collector card campaign alongside the All Blacks. The cards will have player's stories on how their childhood games helped to develop the skills and attitude to be professional players.
Sanitarium marketing manager Jessica Manihera said the collector cards "presents an opportunity for young Kiwi kids to be inspired by some of the great sporting heroes that this country has to offer".
Source: 1 NEWS
"We have a sport where both males and females are playing and they're both world renowned, phenomenally talented players."
"As international champions, the Black Ferns have a big part to play in the future growth of this sport and we are proud to support them this year."
New Zealand Rugby Head of Women's Rugby Development Cate Sexton said it was "an honour for our Black Ferns to be part of a campaign that has included so many iconic New Zealand heroes".
The Black Ferns will be on the Weet-Bix collector cards from August.
New Weetbix collector cards feature Black Ferns players as well as All Blacks.