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Super Rugby: Sharks take on the Highlanders in Durban
Table-topping Sharks will be determined to finish off on a high, before leaving on their overseas trip when they host the Highlanders in Durban.
The Durban-based outfit are currently sitting at the top of the table and as this is their last match before heading off on their tour to Australasia for matches against the Rebels, Brumbies, Crusaders and Blues.
Jake White's side are yet to lose at Kings Park Stadium after six games and their only defeat from eight matches was suffered against the Bulls in Pretoria.
And although they haven't lost to the New Zealanders for nine years, White says his team will not under-estimate their opponents when they clash.
"There is no doubt that this year they are way better than they were last year," White said. "Ben Smith and Aaron Smith are probably the two form players in New Zealand."
Sharks centre Paul Jordaan returns to action after spending six weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury.
The Highlanders are currently in eighth spot in the overall standings with 19 points from seven matches and their four victories.
Coach Jamie Joseph will rely heavily on experienced All Blacks duo Ben Smith and Aaron Smith to lead the way.
They suffered a setback when veteran lock Brad Thorn tore his bicep in the victory over the Bulls, which has put his season in doubt and ruled him out of their tour to South Africa but the Dunedin-based outfit have solid cover in Jarrad Hoeata, Joe Wheeler and Josh Bekhuis who are all in the matchday squad.
Sharks: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 S'bura Sithole, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Charl McLeod, 1 Tendai Mtawarira, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (c), 3 Jannie du Plessis, 4 Willem Alberts, 5 Stephan Lewies, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Jean Deysel, 8 Keegan Daniel.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Ryan Kankowski, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Heimar Williams, 23 SP Marais.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith. 1 Kane Hames, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Shane Christie, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Chris King, 2 Liam Coltman
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Ma'afu Fia, 19 Josh Bekhuis, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Trent Renata, 23 John Hardie.
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|Friday 13th February|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Melbourne Rebels|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Reds|
|17:10||Lions vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 14th February|
|06:35||Blues vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Sharks vs Cheetahs|
|17:05||Bulls vs Stormers|
|Sunday 15th February|
|06:05||Waratahs vs Western Force|
|Friday 20th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Brumbies|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Waratahs|
|17:10||Bulls vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 21st February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Reds vs Western Force|
|15:05||Stormers vs Blues|
|17:10||Sharks vs Lions|
|Friday 27th February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Reds|
|11:00||Western Force vs Hurricanes|
|17:10||Cheetahs vs Blues|
|Saturday 28th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Brumbies|
|15:05||Bulls vs Sharks|
|17:10||Lions vs Stormers|
|Friday 6th March|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Highlanders|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Western Force|
|Saturday 7th March|
|06:35||Blues vs Lions|
|08:40||Reds vs Waratahs|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com