Sharks plan to work as a unit in bid for vic­tory

The Witness - - SPORT - SITHEMBISO DINDI

SHARKS loose-for­ward Philip van der Walt says the team have ad­dressed the is­sue of in­con­sis­tency in Su­per Rugby, but still need to find its main cause.

The Sharks’ cam­paign has been plagued by half-baked per­for­mances, which has led to them go­ing down five times in eight out­ings, with just two wins to their name and a draw.

That sorry record has left them fight­ing in the bot­tom half of the Su­per Rugby ta­ble, a place that is omi­nous for quar­ter-fi­nals hopes.

The Durban fran­chise host the Storm­ers at King’s Park on Satur­day at 5.15 pm and will hope to bounce back from last week­end’s 40-10 de­feat to the Bulls to change their sit­u­a­tion.

The Sharks went into the match against the Bulls on a high and with a lot ex­pected from them af­ter they had per­formed well in New Zealand be­fore the match.

How­ever, the Sharks didn’t look any­thing like the side that turned out in New Zealand in terms of per­for­mance, re­gard­less of tak­ing an un­changed team for the third time in a row.

“We have ad­dressed that is­sue in our meet­ing, we also have iden­ti­fied that we also have been in­con­sis­tent, but to be hon­est I can’t re­ally say what the cause has been for that,” said Van der Walt yes­ter­day.

“Be­cause ev­ery week we pre­pare well and want to de­liver the same level of per­for­mance.

“But I think it’s prob­a­bly, even though we have been play­ing to­gether for a while, we are still act­ing in a man­ner that doesn’t seem like we are ex­pe­ri­enced in the way we ap­proach things. That’s prob­a­bly a rea­son for in­con­sis­tency,” he said.

The 28-year-old ex­pects a tough chal­lenge from a Storm­ers team who have per­formed al­most equally poorly in this cam­paign.

The player chal­lenged his team-mates to work as a unit in their bid to win.

“It is up to us as the for­wards to lead, not nec­es­sar­ily in speak­ing, but in real ac­tion. When it gets tough, you have to be phys­i­cal, put your body on the line and ig­nite the guys next to you. I think that’s prob­a­bly where we failed over the last week­end,” he said.

“I think they [Storm­ers] are go­ing to bring pretty much the same game plan, with their for­ward pack try­ing to over­power us. I think it’s go­ing to de­pend a lot on the lead­er­ship of the for­wards group and also the whole pack as a unit.

“That’s one thing we are work­ing on and that we could have im­proved a lot, just stand­ing to­gether, work­ing and de­fend­ing to­gether.”

The Storm­ers are fourth in the South African con­fer­ence with 13 points, a point be­hind the third-placed Sharks.

The Storm­ers come from a bye and will also be hop­ing to bounce back af­ter they also lost to the Bulls in their last match.

Mean­while, 15 Sharks play­ers, in­clud­ing the un­capped Sbu Nkosi, An­dré Ester­huizen, Robert du Preez, Cameron Wright, Thomas du Toit and Akker van der Merwe, have been in­vited to the third and fi­nal Spring­bok align­ment camp in Durban from April 22 to April 25.

The Spring­bok man­age­ment are us­ing the three align­ment camps to ac­cel­er­ate prepa­ra­tions for the forth­com­ing in­ter­na­tional rugby sea­son.

The fol­low­ing Sharks will at­tend the third camp in Durban:

For­wards: Tendai Mtawarira (prop), Coe­nie Oosthuizen (prop), Thomas du Toit (prop), Chili­boy Rale­pelle (hooker), Akker van der Merwe (hooker), Jean-Luc du Preez (loose for­ward), Dan du Preez (loose for­ward)

Backs: Louis Schreuder (scrumhalf), Cameron Wright (scrumhalf), Robert du Preez (fly­half), An­dré Ester­huizen (cen­tre), Lukhanyo Am (cen­tre), Lwazi Mvovo (wing), Sbu Nkosi (wing), Cur­win Bosch (full­back)

SU­PER RUGBY FIX­TURES Fri­day

Blues v High­landers — 9.35 am Waratahs v Lions — 11.45 am Satur­day

Cru­saders v Sun­wolves — 9.35 am Reds v Chiefs — 11.45 am Bulls v Rebels — 3.05 pm Sharks v Storm­ers — 5.15 pm

PHOTO: GALLO IM­AGES

Sharks­ loose-for­ward­ Philip­ van­ der­ Walt­ aims­ to­ bounce­ back­ against­ the­ Storm­ers­ in­Su­per­ Rugby­ at­ King’s­ Park­ on­ Satur­day.­

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