Sharks to test new strategy against Bulls
THERE is one selection in the Sharks team to play the Bulls tomorrow night in Durban that says it all about the way the Sharks intend playing in Super Rugby this season.
It is the choice of James Venter in the No 6 jersey and it is the first time for a number of years that the Sharks are playing an out-and-out openside flanker.
Typically, the Sharks have opted for three highly physical loose forwards in the pursuit of ruthless forward domination, never really relying on an openside flank.
It is how Jake White won the 2007 World Cup with the Springboks and what he entrenched in Durban when he coached here, and it was continued by Robert du Preez.
Sean Everitt, though, thinks differently about rugby and we have seen how in the off-season the Sharks bought fetchers that will be instrumental to their play, namely the two Venters: James from the Lions and Henco from the Cheetahs.
The two of them, fittingly from a Sharks point of view, were brilliant in last year’s Currie Cup final, with James scoring two tries in a losing Lions effort and Henco was the Man of the Match for the Cheetahs.
For the 23-year-old James, it is a homecoming in that he is from Port Shepstone and was schooled at rugby powerhouse Glenwood. A player in the mould of the fantastic but sadly under-utilised Heinrich Brussouw, Venter will be tasked with attacking the breakdowns and either slowing down the ball or stealing it.