Injury concerns for Sharks ahead of must-win clash against Jaguares

Jean-Luc du Preez of the Sharks offloads in the tackle during their Super Rugby match against the Stormers. Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images

South Africa's Sharks have a number of injury concerns ahead of their crunch Super Rugby fixture at home to the Jaguares on Saturday, which they must win if they are to have any chance of reaching the play-offs.

The Sharks trail eighth-placed Melbourne Rebels by three points in the overall Super Rugby table, and they must claim victory against the Jaguares while hoping the Australian outfit lose to the Highlanders in New Zealand; that sequence of results will see the Durban-based side move into the play-offs.

The Jaguares have already sealed their historic first play-offs berth but they will want to finish at least seventh and avoid a trip to the table-topping Crusaders in the quarterfinals.

The Sharks are likely to be without loose-forward Jean-Luc du Preez again, after his medial cruciate ligament injury, but they are hopeful that his twin brother, Daniel, a fellow back-rower, will be available after he left the field in the loss to the Stormers last weekend with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Springboks winger Sbu Nkosi is also in a race against time to be fit after he sprained an ankle in Cape Town.

Should the Sharks win on Saturday and claim a play-off place, they will face a daunting fixture against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Assistant coach Dick Muir says, however, they have a squad to beat anybody on their day.

"We've been particularly good against the New Zealand sides, so I don't think that will be too daunting," Muir was quoted as saying on the Sharks official website. "But if you look at the history of the competition, the travel is against you if you make the play-offs.

"But we have a team that on the day can beat anyone, we just have to face the next one first then worry about the Crusaders after that."