Venter looking forward to facing the Lions as the Sharks prepare for showdown

07 October 2020 - 09:00 By Khanyiso Tshwaku
Aphelele Fassi of the Sharks celebrates after scoring a try for the Sharks against the Highlanders earlier this year when Super Rugby wasn't curtailed by the novel coronavirus.
Aphelele Fassi of the Sharks celebrates after scoring a try for the Sharks against the Highlanders earlier this year when Super Rugby wasn't curtailed by the novel coronavirus.
Image: Joe Allison / www.Photosport.nz

Sharks loose-forward James Venter is far from concerned about the way they were bullied by the Bulls forwards at SuperFan Saturday as the Sharks prepare to face the Lions on Friday.

The King’s Park clash will be the Super Rugby Unlocked opener, a game Venter is looking forward to. He will be armed with the lessons learnt from the bruising encounter against the Bulls.

“If you go back to our history with SuperHero Sunday, the Sharks haven’t always done well. I don’t want to say it happens, but we learn a lot from that. We train hard and we execute very well. Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face,” Venter said.

“It was the first game out, we’ve learnt our lessons, so now it’s about going out and executing.”

The Lions, who named their match-day 25 on Tuesday that features former Sharks hardman Willem Alberts at lock and Elton Jantjies at 10 packs different, pulled very efficient punches. Venter said they may face a physical challenge in Durban.

“The Lions love a running and expansive game. When you come down to Durban, barring the weather conditions, the ball not bouncing your way and we front up physically, we are an all-round strong side with physicality,” Venter said.

“If we can stick to our processes, do what we do well and stick to our roles, they’ll have a tough outing in Durban.”

Jantjies’s composed performance at the Springbok Showdown at Newlands on Saturday again showed his value as the best 10 currently playing in the country.

The Sharks will be announcing their squad on Wednesday, but Venter knows that Jantjies has to be kept quiet before entertaining thoughts of a win.

“Elton is their leader and being the flyhalf, he controls the game. For us, it’s about identifying that and where a lot of their strengths lie. That’s where we’ll have to formulate processes and methods to nullify him or control what he can do,” Venter said.


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