Sharks will find Gri­quas tough to beat

The Citizen (KZN) - - SPORT - Ken Bor­land

“This is like a quar­ter­fi­nal for us,” Sharks coach Robert du Preez (right) said as he con­sid­ered their trip to Kim­ber­ley to take on Gri­quas in their last Cur­rie Cup round-robin match to­day.

While the match is cer­tainly not a quar­ter­fi­nal for the Sharks – they are al­ready guar­an­teed a place in the semi­fi­nals – Du Preez wants to make sure they se­cure a home semi­fi­nal and take mo­men­tum into the knock­out rounds af­ter their heavy de­feat against Western Prov­ince in their last match.

“No­body likes to lose, but we learnt a lot out of our last game and it was a good wake-up call. But we’re not wor­ried about Western Prov­ince, it’s Gri­quas we’re fo­cus­ing on and this is like a quar­ter­fi­nal for us. We’re go­ing to have to con­cen­trate on what we want to do.

“Gri­quas are al­ways dif­fi­cult to play in Kim­ber­ley, it’s their last game of the sea­son and they have noth­ing to lose, so they’re go­ing to come out fir­ing and be very phys­i­cal, but we’re ready for that and our work-rate will have to be very good,” Du Preez said.

But Du Preez would not be a good coach if he were not con­cerned by the way Western Prov­ince dis­patched them with ease – 50-28 – at New­lands and the Sharks would have to bring some­thing dif­fer­ent to the party.

Which may ex­plain the se­lec­tion of Cur­win Bosch at fly­half and Robert du Preez shift­ing to in­side cen­tre for the Kim­ber­ley game. Would that pro­vide the Sharks with the x-fac­tor on at­tack, while still main­tain­ing a phys­i­cal pres­ence and an­other adept kick­ing op­tion in that chan­nel, that could up­set the high-fly­ing de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons?

But, as ever, the ef­fec­tive­ness of the backs will be de­cided by the dom­i­nance of their pack and the Sharks for­wards would hope to get on top of Gri­quas, boast­ing as they do Spring­boks in Coe­nie Oosthuizen, Daniel du Preez and Akker van der Merwe, as well as Jean-Luc du Preez, Thomas du Toit and Chili­boy Rale­pelle on the bench.

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