Sharks looking to build on momentum into semi-final
One more game, and Province lie in wait
WITH one more game before the Sharks take on their guaranteed home semi-final, the task is about keeping their season-long momentum going. Western Province lie in wait, tomorrow at 3pm at Kings Park, and although technically the result does not matter, the performance certainly does.
The Sharks are coming off a bye after sitting out last week, and although a bye is as good as a holiday, it has been a disruptive week of preparation.
“This game is really important and we are giving it play-off status,” coach Robert Du Preez said “Of course, we want to have momentum going into the semis and you always have to be careful when you are coming back from a break. Post-bye games often pose a challenge for teams,” he said.
“We have had a bit of disruptive week. The storm on Tuesday took care of training but we had a fantastic session on Thursday,” he added. “We will be ready come game time.”
The Sharks have made just one change to this side compared to the one that walked away with a good win against the Lions in wet conditions at Kings Park last time out.
Springbok tourist Lukhanyo Am takes up the number 13 jersey. He replaces Tristan Blewett.
Du Preez explains his decision to stick with continuity stating that the side who did the business against the Lions deserve another shot to shine.
“We are very pleased to have the guys back from the Boks, and we want to play them off the bench, which means the guys that did well against the Lions have another opportunity to start and the returning Boks will then be involved in the second half,” the coach said.
“I have always said it will require a solid squad effort if we are to have a chance of winning the competition, and I think we have achieved that.”
With that, the Sharks bench looks strong with Springboks Chiliboy Ralepelle and Jean-Luc du Preez lying in wait along with another recent tourist in Louis Schreuder.
The coach also hinted at the fact that this may be the last shot that the true Currie Cup cam- paigners have at proving themselves before the big games roll around.
When it comes to semi-finals time there is no doubting that the aforementioned benched Springboks will be involved, as well as probably Kobus van Wyk, who is also returning from injury.
Currently, Odwa Ndungane is keeping the returning Van Wyk on the bench, but the veteran is about to bow out as tomorrow’s game has been billed his tribute match – match number 249.
However, even Du Preez, who is not one for too much sentiment, admitted that he would like to see Ndungane see out the season in style with perhaps match 250, and even 251.
BACK ON BOARD: Lukhanyo Am is back for this weekend’s clash against Western Province.