The Sharks and Waratahs have scrummed poorly in most Super Rugby fixtures‚ making their meeting on Saturday at King’s Park interesting.
Despite beating the Stormers 34-27 in Sydney‚ the Waratahs were reduced to mincemeat at the set piece by Steven Kitshoff.
The Sharks‚ who had a bye last weekend after their 26-19 opening-round defeat by the Lions‚ were scrummed into the ground by a rampant Lions pack led by Jacques van Rooyen.
Sharks and Springbok prop Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira came on to salvage what was left of their scrum in Johannesburg but the horse had bolted.
Mtawarira said improvement was demanded after a disappointing outing two weeks ago
"We weren’t happy with our performance against the Lions. It was substandard‚" he said.
"The guys were working hard at the facet during preseason. We went back to the basics to ensure we’ve got cohesion.
"The scrum is something we want to rectify on Saturday, and something we’re taking very personally," he said.
"The Waratahs have an experienced pack but we’re not looking too much into the Stormers game.
"We’re looking at the game as a challenge and opportunity for us to step up and tick a box we skipped in the Lions game."
Sharks coach Robert du Preez made five changes to the side that lost to the Lions.
Mtawarira returns to the starting line-up‚ replacing Juan Schoeman. A reshuffled back row sees Keegan Daniel and Tyler Paul replacing Dan du Preez and Philip van der Walt.
Makazole Mapimpi made way for Kobus van Wyk at wing and Louis Schreuder returned to his starting berth at scrumhalf.
Du Preez said the Waratahs would be a tough proposition.
"I haven’t seen too many weaknesses at this stage, but they’ve improved a lot from last year‚" Du Preez said.
"I think it’s going to be a tough encounter against them because it’s always tough playing against the Waratahs. So this time it’s not going to be any different," the coach said.
"This competition is about testing you against the best players in the world, and they certainly have a few of those in their team."