Sharks boss Neil Powell says teamwork is the emphasis for his high-powered side heading into their Champions Cup debut against Harlequins in Durban on Saturday.
Powell has named arguably the strongest Sharks line-up this season, with Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi leading the side with his right-hand man Eben Etzebeth in line to make his second appearance for the team since moving to Durban.
Blockbuster team selection
Elsewhere, the side is littered with Springboks that see Ox Nche and Bongi Mbonambi start in the front-row while Jaden Hendrikse starts in the backline with Makazole Mapimpi on the wing.
The former Blitzboks coach is hoping his international players will slot into the system without fuss and underlined that the Sharks need to operate as a collective and not just talented individuals.
“We expect the Boks to almost slot seamlessly into this team,” Powell said.
“I think again it will have to be a team effort — we can’t just rely on individuals in this team to be successful on Saturday.
“The big thing for us is to get the Boks to be on the same page as everybody else in the team in terms of where we want to go and the game plan.
“We also know they will bring huge standards to this team. I’m really excited about this weekend.”
Powell sat in the hot seat for his first game last weekend and gave Kolisi and Etzebeth a rest whilst trying to gather some momentum with continuity of selection.
“We tried to keep the changes minimal to make sure we have a bit of cohesion and flow going into this Heineken [Champions Cup] game against the Harlequins,” he said.
Looking for complete performance
Powell wants his team to be rounded and solid on both attack and defence, particularly against the quality of Harlequins.
“We want to be a team that plays the game well on both sides of the ball, whether in attack or defence,” Powell said.
“We obviously work hard in attack, as well, and I think maybe we weren’t patient enough on the ball before. That has been one of the focus points for us going into this week, and also knowing that you are going to come up against attacking systems that are also very good, as well, especially one like Harlequins.
“Defensively, you have to be very structured. Everybody needs to be exactly on the same page and understand their roles and responsibilities. With that, we have to be dominant and physical in that game.”
The article Champions Cup: Sharks boss Neil Powell believes teamwork is key for his Springbok-laden side against Harlequins appeared first on Planetrugby.com.