Sharks will find Griquas tough to beat
“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.