Sharks plan to work as a unit in bid for victory
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
Sharks loose-forward Philip van der Walt aims to bounce back against the Stormers inSuper Rugby at King’s Park on Saturday.