The Sharks, without the injury problems that haunted them earlier this season, are now in the privileged position of being able to finalise their Currie Cup final team four days ahead of the match against the Blue Bulls.
Liam Del Carme writes in Beeld that the team for Saturday’s match in Durban will be announced on Tuesday. It is unlikely to differ much from the one that beat the Lions in the semifinal.
Probably the only question is whether Springbok captain John Smit will be among the substitutes again, with Bismarck du Plessis at hooker in the starting lineup.
There may also be some uncertainty about the position in which Frans Steyn will be deployed.
Assistant coach Grant Bashford admitted on Monday that teams seldom find themselves in such a position at the end of a season.
“We are very fortunate. With the exception of Alistair Hargreaves we have a full-strength squad to choose from.”
The Sharks would try to stick to their winning strategy, Bashford said. This meant they were not going to divert much from their usual routine.
Will ask questions
It probably also means they are not going to tinker with the composition of the team
However, Bashford realises the Sharks will have to do better than they did when they won their league-phase match against the Blue Bulls in Durban earlier this year.
“The Bulls have certainly developed as a team. They will ask questions of us all around the park. They have many strong points and they can no longer be regarded as a one-dimensional team.
“They have a formidable pack, with players such as Victor Matfield and Danie Rossouw. And with Morné Steyn at flyhalf, their backs are more likely to attack.
“They are going to put us under a lot of pressure. They are certainly a more balanced team now,” Bashford said.
The Sharks finished at the top of the points table. They beat the Bulls in a league match in Durban, they looked the most polished team in the competition and they’ll be playing at home on Saturday.
Yet Bashford feels they are no better off than the Bulls. “Finals are a different phenomenon. It’s about one match only and nothing else. Therefore, one’s approach should be different.
“We may be playing at home, but we can take nothing for granted. We dare not.”Tweet