Reds star Samu Kerevi will line up against the Sharks. Picture: AAP
Reds star Samu Kerevi will line up against the Sharks. Picture: AAP

Kerevi is desperate to join Reds’ Shark hunt

REST breaks can wait because Samu Kerevi is desperate to be part of the Reds' first win in Durban in 15 years with a side that has copped a deserved rev.

Defensive coach Peter Ryan said on Wednesday that the players were disgusted with their losing 32-17 performance against the Bulls last weekend.

You can add Ryan's own distaste to that because nothing stings a defensive coach more than having the players miss 35 tackles.

"If you asked any one of the players we would all say we were pretty disgusted with our performance," Ryan said.

"If our defence is as it was last week, they'll put 50 points on us easily. I'm expecting a much bigger attitude from us against the Sharks.

"They were completely embarrassed in front of their home fans last weekend (when thrashed 51-17 by the Jaguares) so they'll have a point to prove coming at us."

The Sharks have stiffened their pack with Springbok props Tendai Mtawarira and Coenie Oosthuizen starting in Friday night's game after a designated game off last week.

Scott Higginbotham provides the experience in the Reds pack. Picture: AAP Image/Jono Searle
Scott Higginbotham provides the experience in the Reds pack. Picture: AAP Image/Jono Searle

It was expected that centre Kerevi would be spelled from this game for the same reason but the skipper is so integral to jagging an upset that he'll miss a match later in the season.

Never has coach Brad Thorn's faith in his youth policy been so obvious.

No. 8 Scott Higginbotham is 32 but no one else in the starting pack has had a 23rd birthday.

"Apart from Scott, the starting forward pack all played Queensland Under-20s with each other and have all worked and grown together," Thorn said.

Young 111kg prop Harry Hoopert, 20, faces a trial by fire in his first start because he gives away 18kg to Oosthuizen, a hardened 30-Test campaigner.

Hoopert's work in open play has been impressive but his huge challenge here is to make the scrum secure when the heat comes on, as it will.

The return of Wallaby Sefa Naivalu on the wing adds thrust and experience but he must go looking for more work to take pressure off Kerevi.

Bryce Hegarty is part of the youth policy. Picture: AAP
Bryce Hegarty is part of the youth policy. Picture: AAP

The Reds ended up playing a poor and very narrow attacking game against the Bulls, in part because of their inability to retain possession or create enough quick ball.

Halfback spark Tate McDermott was never given enough clean ball.

SHARKS V REDS

THURSDAY 11.05PM (AEST), KINGS PARK, DURBAN

Referee: Federico Anselmi (Arg)

SHARKS: Curwin Bosch, Sbu Nkosi, Kobus van Wyk, Andre Esterhuizen, Lwazi Mvovo, Robert du Preez, Louis Schreuder (c), Daniel du Preez, Jacques Vermeulen, Philip van der Walt, Hyron Andrews, Ruben van Heerden, Coenie Oosthuizen, Kerron van Vuuren, Beast Mtawarira. Reserves: Fez Mbatha, Juan Schoeman, Thomas du Toit, Tyler Paul, Jean-Luc du Preez, Cameron Wright, Marius Louw, Aphelele Fassi.

REDS: Hamish Stewart, Sefa Naivalu, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Samu Kerevi (c), Jack Hardy, Bryce Hegarty, Tate McDermott, Scott Higginbotham, Liam Wright, Angus Scott-Young, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Alex Mafi, Harry Hoopert. Reserves: Brandon Paenga-Amosa, JP Smith, Ruan Smith, Harry Hockings, Adam Korczyk, Moses Sorovi, Duncan Paia'aua, Jock Campbell.

* Live on Fox Sports and Kayo