Frans Steyn's goal-kicking should earn the Sharks a narrow but important win in Canberra this Saturday.
Much has been made about Jake White's return to Canberra, and no doubt the former Brumbies mentor would love a result against the team he steered to the 2013 final. However, come kick-off, it will be down to the Sharks players rather than the coach to bank the win.
White has persisted with Steyn at flyhalf for the second consecutive week. This choice has been made easier by Fred Zeilinga's tour-ending hamstring injury.
While Steyn has been inconsistent as a distributor, his goal-kicking has been superb. His ability to bisect the uprights from within his own half has also been telling. It's for this reason that the Brumbies should be wary about infringing at the breakdown this Saturday, even if they are on the Sharks' 10m line.
The Sharks will be boosted by the return of scrumhalf Cobus Reinach, who should ask some questions of the Brumbies defence around the fringes. White has also opted to start Paul Jordaan at No 12 and S'bura Sithole at No 13. That combination will also bring something to the Sharks attack, although they will have an important job to do on defence.
Marcell Coetzee has been ruled out for the rest of their tour with injury. However, Keegan Daniel is a great replacement at No 6, and better suited to what should be an intense breakdown contest.
It's going to be close in Canberra, and Steyn could be the man who clinches a valuable win for the Sharks.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Brumbies 10, Sharks 9.
In Canberra: Brumbies 8, Sharks 2.
STEYN'S STATS THAT MATTER
81% – Steyn's goal-kicking success rate in 2014 (29 out of 36)
80 – The number of points he's contributed to the Sharks in 2014
Brumbies – 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (c), 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Fotu Auelua, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Ruaidhri Murphy, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Tom McVerry, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Pat McCabe.
Sharks – 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 S'bura Sithole, 12 Paul Jordaan, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (c), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Tera Mtembu, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Heimar Williams, 23 SP Marais.
Photo: Gallo Images