Sharks to pack strong­est punch

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MIKE GREENAWAY

THE Sharks are gear­ing up for what coach Robert du Preez de­scribes as a Cur­rie Cup “quar­ter-fi­nal” against WP at Kings Park to­mor­row (3pm), with all the at­ten­dant fo­cus that goes with a do-or-die match.

It is the last round of the Cur­rie Cup be­fore next week’s semi-fi­nals and with the Sharks hav­ing won 10 in a row to top the log, the wary Du Preez is tak­ing no chances as the com­pe­ti­tion winds up to crunch time. He wants 11 out of 11 be­fore the home semi-fi­nal next week.

“This game is re­ally im­por­tant and we are giv­ing it play-off sta­tus,” 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 a dis­rup­tive week. The storm on Tues­day took care of train­ing but we had a fan­tas­tic ses­sion to­day (Thurs­day),” he added. “We will be ready come game time.”

The coach has made just one change to the side that beat the Lions two weeks ago in Durban ahead of last week’s bye, with Lukhanyo Am fi­nally over in­jury and re­sum­ing at out­side cen­tre. Tris­tan Blewett drops to the bench.

Du Preez said that with most of the squad hav­ing game time to­mor­row, he would be in a good po­si­tion to pick the best start­ing line-up for next week’s semi-fi­nal. It means a pow­er­ful bench that thus in­cludes Chili­boy Rale­pelle, Jean-Luc du Preez and Louis Schreuder, as well as wing Kobus van Wyk who, like Am, is over in­jury.

Prov­ince have plenty rid­ing on the game – an up­set win will se­cure them a home semi-fi­nal – and Du Preez says the Sharks are pre­par­ing ac­cord­ingly.

“They are get­ting guys back from the Boks (tight­head Wilco Louw and wing Dil­lyn Leyds) and they will be com­ing to play some se­ri­ous rugby,” Du Preez said. “It will be a big team ef­fort from them. They like to at­tack out wide, so our de­fence will have to very strong.”

Prov­ince have also shown that they have one of the bet­ter scrums in the Cur­rie Cup and made a point against the Lions in their match in Jo­han­nes­burg last week.

“They have been scrum­ming re­ally well. I think the set scrums are go­ing to be hotly con­tested,” Du Preez agreed. “And Wilco will give them an added boost. I think the set pieces are go­ing to be a big bat­tle. Both packs have been go­ing well.”

The Sharks are un­beaten at home in the Cur­rie Cup and the early kick-off for the Odwa Ndunange Trib­ute game could draw a good crowd.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.