SINGAPORE - Super Rugby side Sharks of South Africa might start as favourites for this Saturday's (May 20) clash at the National Stadium against hosts the Sunwolves but the visitors are not expecting an easy game.
Despite the Japanese outfit's poor run - losing nine and winning just one game so far this season and are last in the standings - Sharks' prop Tendai Mtawarira stressed his team-mates were taking nothing for granted.
He said on Thursday after the Sharks training: "They are becoming better from last year and they are a growing side. It's great to watch them. They got great skills, good set pieces and a tough challenge all around the pitch."
The Sunwolves, who are co-based in Japan and Singapore, finished bottom in their Super Rugby debut campaign last year.
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They have shown improvement this term, beating two-time Super Rugby champions Bulls and scoring five tries in a narrow 39-46 loss to the Jaguares of Argentina in their last outing.
The Sharks are also coming off a defeat after a 32-35 reversal against the Southern Kings last weekend.
Sharks head coach Robert du Preez said his team would not underestimate the Sunwolves. He added: "Sometimes results are not always a good reflection of what's happening in the team. It does take time, they're well-coached and they're playing good rugby.
"Their breakdown is fantastic and I feel that theirs is one of the best in Super Rugby."
The Sharks, who were eliminated in the quarter-final stage last season, are third in the South African Group after 11 matches.
Mtawarira said: "For us we need to brush up on our ball retention. We need to keep the ball in all phases of the game and Sunwolves being a tough side, we are never going to break them down if we don't build enough pressure."
Added du Preez: "We've got to be really physical against them. We've got to react fast to all kinds of situation because they're a fast team.
"This is an important game for us to get our campaign back to track. The game against the Kings was a big disappointment for us, and we've come here for a win."