Connacht’s efforts to prepare an assault for a fast start next season are being accelerated by the prospect of a speedy finish to this one.
hile a sagging spring will haunt their summer reflections, the chance to achieve a significant note of history that has remained beyond all their exalted rivals can ensure they remain buoyant for another week at least.
No other side has completed a clean sweep against the South African sides and none have managed to win twice against them at home.
It would be a notable fillip for Connacht, even if one that confirms their status as a bewilderingly inconsistent force, given the nature of some of their reverses this term, some on their own sacred sod.
“Beating all four South African teams would be a tremendous achievement, but we’re fully aware we’ve a significant task ahead of us tomorrow,” said coach Andy Friend, who has supervised a season for the third time that has more wins than losses for the province.
“The Sharks have named a side full of Springbok internationals and will have a large and passionate fanbase behind them in Durban.
“That said, the group has taken great confidence from the win in Johannesburg and the atmosphere around the camp all week has been really positive.”
Sharks, unchanged after seeing off high-flying Leinster, are gunning for a home run to the final, and with Noel McNamara, touted for Munster, in their corner, they will know what to expect.
Armchair viewers should expect a high-scoring thriller in Kings Park in Durban.
SHARKS – A Fassi; Kok W, Tapuai B, Louw M, Mapimpi M; C Bosch, J Hendrikse; O Niche, B Mbonambi, T du Toit capt, L Roets, G Grobler, S Kolisi, H Venter, P Buthelezi. Reps: K van Vuuren, N Mchunu, K Mchunu, R Hugo, J Labuschagne, S Notshe, G Williams, B Chamberlain.
CONNIGHT – M Hansen; Porch J, Farrell T, Daly T, Wooton A; Fitzgerald C, Blade C, Buckley D, Heffernan D, Bealham F, Thornbury G, Fifita L, Prendergast C, Oliver C, Butler J Reps: Tierney-Martin D, Butler J, Duggan J, Aungier J, Murray N, Dowling O, Marmion K, Carty J, O’Halloran T.
Referee – Mike Adamson (SRU)
Sharks v Connacht,
Live, TG4/Premier Sports, 4.05pm
https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/pro14/connacht-seek-to-sink-sharks-and-make-history-in-south-africa-with-clean-sweep-41602232.html Connacht seek to sink Sharks and make history in South Africa with clean sweep