WP call up the cav­alry for Sharks

• WP en­list Spring­boks Dil­lyn Leyds and Wilco Louw for must-win Cur­rie Cup match

Business Day - - FRONT PAGE - Craig Ray and Khany­iso Tsh­waku /TimesLIVE

Western Prov­ince coach John Dob­son has re­called Spring­boks Dil­lyn Leyds and Wilco Louw for Satur­day’s must-win Cur­rie Cup clash against the Sharks in Dur­ban.

Western Prov­ince coach John Dob­son has re­called Spring­boks Dil­lyn Leyds and Wilco Louw for Satur­day’s must-win Cur­rie Cup clash against the Sharks to be played in Dur­ban.

The Cape side need to win to en­sure they make the semi­fi­nals and Dob­son has turned to ev­ery avail­able weapon to achieve the de­sired re­sult.

Leyds and Louw both fea­tured in the Spring­boks’ 25-24 loss to the All Blacks at New­lands on Satur­day‚ with the lat­ter mak­ing his Test de­but.

The Sharks are al­ready safely in the semi­fi­nals and will host the fi­nal if they progress that far after a sea­son in which they have won 10 matches in a row.

Louw is at tight­head prop‚ along­side Bongi Mbonambi and JC Janse van Rens­burg in the front row‚ while Leyds fea­tures on the wing‚ with Ruhan Nel mov­ing to in­side cen­tre to part­ner Huw Jones in mid­field. The only other change to the start­ing line-up puts Jaco Coet­zee on the flank for the coastal derby.

“We know that we need to raise our game as a team this week­end and the play­ers will be go­ing flat-out to de­liver the re­sult‚” Dob­son said.

“It will be a ma­jor chal­lenge to go to Dur­ban‚ but one that we have em­braced as a team.”

Sharks coach Robert du Preez re­sisted the urge to rest play­ers for the play-offs, re­gard­less of the fact that no other team can usurp their po­si­tion on the log.

Lukhanyo Am re­turns from in­jury to take his place at cen­tre‚ with Tris­tan Blewett shift­ing to the bench‚ in the only change to the team that de­feated the Li­ons two weeks ago.

On the bench‚ Chili­boy Rale­pelle and Jean-Luc du Preez re­turn from Spring­bok com­mit­ments‚ while Louis Schreuder is back after miss­ing the Li­ons match due to fam­ily af­fairs‚ and Kobus van Wyk is over the in­jury that has side­lined him.

“The last thing you want to do is go into a semi­fi­nal hav­ing lost the last game. But for us‚ win­ning isn’t all we’re fo­cus­ing on‚ but rather get­ting bet­ter from two weeks ago, when we played the Li­ons‚” Sharks wing Odwa Ndun­gane said.

“We want to make sure we keep im­prov­ing. We al­ready have a guar­an­teed home semi­fi­nal‚ so there isn’t any pres­sure on us this week­end. But we want to go out and play well‚ to keep im­prov­ing.

“It’s al­ways a chal­lenge com­ing off a bye. We had a dis­rupted week be­cause of the storm on Tues­day, but I’m happy with the prepa­ra­tions and we’ll be ready for the game on Satur­day.”

Sharks coach Du Preez said: “We also owe it to our fans to put a proper show on for them.

“Home ad­van­tage is great but the team still has to go out there and per­form.”

The Blue Bulls and the Pu­mas have a vir­tual quar­ter­fi­nal in Pre­to­ria on Fri­day night‚ but both sides could find them­selves out of the run­ning be­cause of events else­where.

The Bulls are fifth with 27 points and the Pu­mas sixth with 26. The most those teams can fin­ish with is 32 and 31, re­spec­tively‚ the points Western Prov­ince (sec­ond) and the Chee­tahs (third) have.

Blue Bulls head coach John Mitchell has con­fi­dence in his charges after their big 64-36 win against the Chee­tahs in Bloem­fontein last week.

The Chee­tahs and Golden Li­ons‚ who meet at Ellis Park on Satur­day‚ have been on dif­fer­ent tra­jec­to­ries this sea­son. The former got off to a fast start that has tailed off badly‚ with the past two matches hav­ing Daan Hu­man’s side on the re­ceiv­ing end of 59-24 and 64-36 ham­mer­ings against the Gri­quas and the Blue Bulls.

/Gallo Im­ages

On­wards and up­wards: Dil­lyn Leyds has been se­lected for WP to face the Sharks on Satur­day … a week ago he came up against the All Blacks.

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