Sharks sharpened teeth for Pumas against WP
After unexpectedly losing their opening Currie Cup match to the Griquas‚ the Sharks found a bit of sharpness against Western Province that has to be extended to the Pumas this weekend.
The trip to Mpumalanga‚ where the Sharks meet the Pumas at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday‚ has been a difficult one for the defending champions.
But having seen off a strong Western Province challenge two weeks ago‚ they’ve got the much needed confidence to deal with a tricky Pumas side who have found various ways of losing tight matches.
The Sharks have also had the benefit of a bye‚ but from time to time that’s proven to be counterproductive‚ especially in Super Rugby.
That’s the least of Sharks coach Sean Everitt’s concerns as they want to build a head of steam in the one-round tournament where every game counts.
“The guys showed what they can do when they’re up for it on a Saturday afternoon. We’re looking for consistency in regards with that performance‚” Everitt said.
“There were a lot of things to take out from a positive perspective but there’s a lot to improve on and that’s what we did last week.
“We haven’t spoken about the bye at all this week. We expect the guys to be fresher and less fatigued. We’re concentrating on the effort we need to put in on Saturday.”
Everitt made only one change to the side who beat Western Province with budding loose-forward Phendulani Buthelezi starting and Jacques Vermeulen on the bench.
The importance of a win against the Pumas isn’t lost on Everitt‚ especially with the Pumas playing some good rugby without the results to show for their efforts.
“They are dangerous‚ which is why it’s important for us to start well. We’re not underestimating what they can bring.
“We’ve had a good look at them. They ran the Lions close and they were unfortunate to lose that game and against the Griquas. We need to be good at the little things and our focus has been on speed and accuracy‚” Everitt said.
Sharks: 15 Rhyno Smith‚ 14 Kobus van Wyk‚ 13 JP Pietersen‚ 12 Jeremy Ward‚ 11 Lwazi Mvovo‚ 10 Curwin Bosch‚ 9 Cameron Wright‚ 8 Tera Mtembu‚ 7 Phepsi Buthelezi‚ 6 Luke Stringer‚ 5 Hyron Andrews‚ 4 Ruben van Heerden‚ 3 Coenie Oosthuizen‚ 2 Kerron van Vuuren‚ 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden‚ 17 Mzamo Majola‚ 18 John-Hubert Meyer‚ 19 Gideon Koegelenberg‚ 20 Jacques Vermeulen‚ 21 Sanele Nohamba‚ 22 Marius Louw‚ 23 Aphelele Fassi.
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant Referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron‚ Stephan Geldenhuys
TMO: Christie du Preez