The Sharks are wary of the role former Cheetahs flyhalf Willem de Waal may play in their Currie Cup rugby match against Western Province here on Friday evening.
Cobus Claassen writes in Beeld that the Absa Stadium ground is likely to be wet and heavy after this week’s rain, making De Waal’s kicking ability a major factor.
Sharks eighthman Jacques Bothes, who will share with Keegan Daniels the responsibility of keeping the new WP flyhalf in check, feels the conditions may suit De Waal.
“It looks as if it will be wet. If that is the case, Willem will play a major role,” Botes said on Thursday.
De Waal’s Super 14 performances have led some experts to believe that he has certain limitations. However, the Sharks know that the best way to neutralise him is to keep the WP pack on the back foot.
Botes, normally a flank, says the “confrontation” at breakdown points will be crucial. “Francois Louw was outstanding in the Super 14 and Pieter Myburgh’s groundwork is good. They can form a formidable combination with AJ Venter.”
It will be strange to see former Sharks star Venter in a WP jersey but they know what to expect of the veteran, says Botes, who is expected to exchange positions from Daniel from time to time.
“We trained against each other many times and it should not be too difficult to adapt.”
Sharks coach John Plumtree has cautioned that, with De Waal in the WP line-up, the Sharks will have to maintain strict discipline.
“He is an experienced player and if we make too many mistakes it will cost us,” Plumtree said.
The Sharks beat WP 32-16 in Durban early last season. This prompted their captain, Johan Muller, to emphasise this week the importance of a good start and of winning at home.
Sharks: Stefan Terblanche, JP Pietersen, Waylon Murray, Andries Strauss, Henno Mentz, Brad Barritt, Rory Kockott, Jacques Botes, Steven Sykes, Keegan Daniel, Alistair Hargreaves, Johann Muller (capt), Jannie du Plessis, Craig Burden, Deon Carstens.
Substitutes: Skipper Badenhorst, Robbie Harris, Albert van den Berg, Skholiwe Ndlovu, Scott Mathie, Lwazi Mvovo, Andrew Borgen.
WP: Gio Aplon, Wylie Human, Dylan des Fountain, PJ Vermeulen, Joe Pietersen, Willem de Waal, Alistair Siegelaar, AJ Venter, Francois Louw, Pieter Myburgh, Ross Skeate (capt), Adriaan Fondse, Brock Harris, Deon Fourie, Schalk Ferreira.
Substitutes: Simon Westraadt, Wicus Blaauw, Ruaan du Preez, Francois van der Merwe, Justin Melck, Paul Delport, Zhahier Ryland.
Referee: Christie du Preez.
Television: Live coverage on M-Net and SuperSport 1 on DStv from 19:00.Tweet