Sharks coach John Plumtree is focused on ensuring that his team are fresh enough to match the intensity of the Pumas this weekend after the short turnaround following their tough encounter with the Blue Bulls.
The Sharks have a long trip to Nelspruit ahead of them and Plumtree adopted a cautious approach this week, taking the opportunity to rest key players from their light training session on Monday.
He said: "Keegan Daniel and Fred Michalak didn't train on Monday but should all be alright for the weekend. Eugene van Staden will be monitored during the week."
Plumtree said the key for his team this weekend would be to ensure that they match the Pumas' intensity so soon after their highly physical clash against the Blue Bulls.
"It's a short turnabout for us after the Bulls game on Saturday night and this one on Friday, plus all the travel, it's about getting up physically for this game and that the boys have recovered well from the Bulls game and that we can compete with them physically," he explained.
The Sharks boss is expecting a fierce test from the Pumas, who came desperately close to upsetting the Lions in Johannesburg last week, and he is certain that the team from Mpumalanga will be keen to put in a good performance in their first home game of the season.
He said: "The Pumas will be hungry, they won't want to lose two in a row, it's a home game for them and it's going to be tough.
"They're very physical, they play with a lot of intensity, their forwards are well organised and they have a flyhalf who runs the game really well. Defensively they are good, they turned the Lions over a lot as well so we are going to have to be really accurate," added Plumtree.
The Kiwi coach explained that his side is focused on securing a home semifinal this year as they bid to make it back-to-back Currie Cup titles, but added that it would be a tough task without any of their Springboks to help them.
He commented: "The playing field in the Currie Cup this year is pretty even , there aren't going to be any easy games. Finishing top is the goal: When we've had home semis, we've generally kicked on to get a home Final, so it's important to finish top.
"Every game is an opportunity to accumulate points, to try and earn a home semi, a home Final, ultimately, that's what the prize is. It's a tough competition, there are going to be upsets right through the tournament this year," said the Sharks coach.
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