The Sharks’ objective in their Absa Currie Cup match against the Boland Cavaliers on Friday could not be more clear – score at least four tries to earn a bonus-point win, and significantly improve on their performance against Western Province last week as preparation for next week’s big match against the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.
With respect to Boland, a properly focused Sharks team should win comfortably in Durban, and any Sharks team coached by John Plumtree will be switched on, whoever the Sharks are playing, according to Mike Greenaway on IOL.
“This team is very big on honouring the jersey, and the leaders in the team will always ensure that the Sharks respect their opposition as well as their own tradition,” Plumtree says.
A look over the Boland team sheet suggests that, as usual, they will be full of running. There are a number of athletes in their team and a host of Sevens stars, but a tight five that can live with that of the Sharks is not immediately apparent.
This is the obvious area where the Sharks can grab the game by the scruff of the neck, and ensure that a dangerous wing like John Daniels (can you believe he is still going?) does not see much of the ball.
When he got it against the Falcons last week, the veteran invariably scored. He got three tries in his team’s astonishing second-half comeback, to win 48-42 after being down 17-36 at half-time.
That game tells you a few things: the Cavaliers are fitter than the Falcons and will have a go if you give them a chance, and that they are vulnerable on defence.
The Sharks will be stronger and fitter than the Falcons, and should dominate possession – and the ball game.
It is not just about beating Boland, though.
The Sharks will want Bradley Barritt (should he pass a fitness test) to continue to grow at flyhalf, they want Steven Sykes to get better at playing flank, they want Craig Burden to master his line-out delivery, Allister Hargreaves to continue his development in the second row.
In fact, every player has his own individual agenda to attend to within the framework of the overall cause of the team.
Captain Johan Muller put it most succinctly when he said on Tuesday: “Our performance against Western Province was nowhere near good enough. We have got to get our act together quickly if we we want to to be serious contenders in the competition.”Tweet