The Sharks have ‘wrongs to fix’
Durban side keen to do better in Currie Cup this season
THE LIONS in a Super Rugby quarter-final one Saturday, the humble Mpumalanga Pumas in the Currie Cup the next.
Such is the life of a professional rugby player and Sharks hooker Franco Marais said the players would not drop their intensity from Ellis Park to Kings Park for the 5pm kick-off.
The Sharks had an unfortunate Currie Cup first-round match last week when an almost Super Rugby strength Cheetahs team hammered an under-strength Durban side in Bloemfontein, while there was something similar in Nelspruit, where a full-strength Pumas team beat the Lions, also obviously under strength.
The Pumas on Saturday will be up against a much stronger Sharks side that also now has Super Rugby coach Robert du Preez at the helm after Under-21 coach Paul Anthony did a caretaker job last week.
Unfortunately for the Sharks, gone from the Super Rugby squad for foreign shores are scrumhalf Cobus Reinach, lock Etienne Oosthuizen and tighthead prop Lourens Adriaanse.
In the Pumas ranks are former Sharks in scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer and flank Francois Kleinhans.
Marais said the players had a break on Monday and yesterday trained for the first time in Currie Cup mode.
“We are keen for the Currie Cup and we have a lot to prove, a lot of wrongs to fix. We did not do well last year (the Sharks did not make the semi-finals), so no excuses this year,” the hooker said.
Will the Sharks be able to replicate the enthusiasm with which they played the Lions last week in that tumultuous quarter-final against the Pumas in a domestic competition?
“We will see that on Saturday. It is all up to the players, it is up to the senior guys to set the intensity,” the SA A hooker said.
“If you can’t get up for a Sharks Currie Cup game, then you should not be there. Hopefully we can pick up where we left off against the Lions in terms of intensity.”
The Pumas, obviously at full strength, beat the Lions in an entertaining game and will give the Sharks a run for their money if they are not tuned in for the fixture, Marais added.
MOTIVATED: Franco Marais of the Sharks, left, says the Durban side will be ‘up’ for their home Currie Cup encounter against the Pumas at Kings Park on Saturday.