The Currie Cup may be a lengthy competition, but the Sharks will be fully aware that a win over the Bulls at the Absa Stadium on Friday night would be worth its weight in gold writes Craig Lewis for The Daily News .
This match precedes three away games for the defending champs and so hitting the road having claimed the scalp of the Bulls would be a major boost for them, and although some may suggest the Sharks will go into this clash as underdogs, rest assured they’ll have their own expectations to live up to.
However, they did suffer a real setback on Wednesday when young flyhalf Guy Cronje received a one-week suspension for a dangerous tackle committed during this past weekend’s win over Boland.
As a result, Monty Dumond will step into the breach and wear the No 10 jersey, and although he is no stranger to Currie Cup rugby, it is disappointing that Cronje won’t get the opportunity to prove his mettle against a top team such as the Bulls.
And undoubtedly, the Pretoria-based franchise will be heading to Durban determined to pick up their third consecutive win of the Currie Cup season, with last weekend’s impressive performance against Western Province coming on the back of their opening victory against the Lions.
However, Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said the message to the players had been to disregard their initial success so far this season.
“We must forget about the Western Province game, it’s gone now, and we must forget about our win before that because they mean nothing. It is going to be a hard 80 minutes where we must put our bodies on the line and play really well. We have made huge improvements from week one, but the whole game will be about pressure, absorbing it and applying it.”
This week, the Bulls have also placed a real emphasis on their scrums, which is a weapon of their’s that was nowhere near its most lethal against Western Province, but Ludeke, as well as captain Derick Kuun said they had worked on a few things and were confident of an improved performance tomorrow night.
Certainly, the Bulls do boast an impressive front row and in fact, there is a nice blend of youth and experience throughout the team, which was identified by Sharks coach John Plumtree earlier this week.
Meanwhile, according to a French website, Durban-bound Juan Martin Hernandez has expressed his frustration with former club Stade Francais for delaying his arrival at the Sharks.
The 26-year-old Argentinian, who is expected to make his Sharks debut next weekend, has had his long-awaited arrival repeatedly delayed while waiting for various paperwork to be sorted out.
“The transfer of my negotiations were very difficult and I did not understand the behaviour of Stade Francais,” he said.
“Fortunately I was able to resolve everything in the best of ways. The club gave me a lot, I leave good friends, but I had to admit that the bosses thought of money and nothing else.”
Certainly, the reputation of the mercurial flyhalf precedes him, with his ability to produce match-defining moments of magic making him a sought-after recruit.Tweet