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.

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