Sharks away win a 'must' for Kerevi's Reds

Samu Kerevi says the Reds weren't mentally prepared against the Bulls.
Samu Kerevi says the Reds weren't mentally prepared against the Bulls.

Pinching a rare win against the Sharks in Durban is a must according to Queensland captain Samu Kerevi, who has delayed plans to rest as the Reds try to stay afloat this Super Rugby season.

The Wallabies centre was expected to miss at least one of the side's two matches in South Africa due to World Cup workload management protocol.

But that plan has been scrapped as he leads the Reds out against an "obsessed" Sharks outfit on Friday (AEST), a week after a dour 32-17 loss to the Bulls.

The Reds have three wins from eight starts this Super Rugby season - as many as the Brumbies and only two fewer than conference leaders Melbourne Rebels.

A bye next weekend is followed by a trio of season-defining games against conference rivals the Sunwolves, Rebels and Waratahs.

Kerevi - who scored against the Bulls - labelled Friday's clash a "must-win", but history suggests it won't come easy.

Victory at Kings Park would be the Reds' first in 15 years, while they haven't tasted success in South Africa since 2015.

"It's pretty important in terms of the season, it's a must-win game for us to set us up for the back end," Kerevi said.

"I'm excited to play in the Shark Tank (for the first time). I've heard plenty of good things about it and how hard it is to play here."

Kerevi's bullocking try - his fifth of the campaign - was a rare highlight in an otherwise forgettable showing, particularly defensively, in Pretoria.

"It was very disappointing against the Bulls last week ... we weren't switched on and mentally prepared," Kerevi said.

"It starts at the start of the week and we've done that really well (this week)."

Yet it's hardly the right moment to face the Sharks (4-4), who are licking their wounds after a 51-17 loss at home last weekend to Argentina's Jaguares.

"It has to be an obsession from us to win this game, and it is," Sharks coach Robert du Preez told reporters this week.

Springboks backs Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi have been rested but forwards Coenie Oosthuizen and Tendai Mtawarira have been restored to the Sharks starting line-up, as has Jacques Vermeulen.

Reds and Wallabies winger Sefa Naivalu, who has linked up well with Kerevi this season, returns for the visitors after being rested against the Bulls.

Australian Associated Press