robdylan

ABSA Currie Cup Preview – Round 10


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks, WP on 9 Oct 2014 at 16:37
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It’s the final round of Currie Cup action and somewhat surprisingly, there really aren’t too many permutations this time around.

What we know
- We know that Province will end top and thus don’t have any reason to even pitch up this weekend.
- We know that the Kings will end last and thus don’t have any reason to even pitch up this weekend.

The six other teams will all had a set goal in mind:
- The Lions just need a win over the Cheetahs to be assured or a home semi-final (2nd place)
- Assuming the Lions don’t win, the Sharks need a win to claim second. If the Lions win, the Sharks have nothing to play for either.
- The Bulls may or may not need to win against Griquas to secure fourth spot. They will know this ahead of kick-off, depending on what the Cheetahs do against the Lions earlier on Saturday.
- The Cheetahs need a big bonus pint win to temporarily end up fourth. They’ll then need Griquas to beat the Bulls in order for them to stay there.
- The Pumas need just a win against the Kings to ensure sixth place and thus avoid a relegation play-off.
- Griquas need a bloody miracle, starting with a Kings win and then a big win themselves to finish sixth.

Western Province v Sharks (Saturday 5:05pm in Cape Town)
Province coach Allister Coetzee has really put the muckers on any aspiring preview writer by picking a completely new team. A friend was saying to me earlier that one thing he has probably managed to achieve in doing so is confuse the hell out of the Sharks coaches, since neither they – nor I – have any clue as to what sort of game Province are going to play. In the absence of a form boko to guide us, though, we need to focus on the team that we do know something about – the Sharks.

Fix the scrum
The time for excuses is now over. The Sharks fared a little better at scrum time against the Lions last week, but not much. Matt Stevens has now been brought up and with a rejigged Province tight five, there really is no excuse for the Sharks to not put in a solid performance here, if not a dominant one. Brok Harris has never been much rated as a scrummager, while his cohort Oli Kebble is nothing but wet and green; while the Sharks will miss the brute strength of Kyle Cooper in the middle of the phalanx, they must have the individual superiority and combined grunt needed to get the upper hand here. Come Sharks, just bloody sort it already!

Quick ball – dictate!
The Sharks dominated the breakdown against the Lions, admittedly with the help of a somewhat sympathetic ref. Saturday’s whistle-man is Jaco Peyper, who takes perverse pleasure in ruling against them at this phase, so the visitors will need to keep a close eye on discipline while ensuring that they retain the Lion’s share of possession. Province have profited this year from living off scraps and punishing turnovers, thus the Sharks should expect to have a fair amount of ball to work with. They need to ensure that they’re retaining that possession, committing to rucks in the right way to ensure continuity and above all, keep flyhalf Lionel Cronje moving forward so that he can dictate the play. All sounds so simple, doesn’t it?

Dominate the gain line
If there’s one area that the Sharks have a clear advantage it’s the sheer size of their backs. They need to ensure that they use this physical advantage to generate and maintain momentum. Execution will be key, since loose passes will be punished on the counter. Using Esterhuizen, Sithole and Mvovo to punch the gaps, over and over again, with Mtembu and Oosthuizen there to take the ball on and set up a repeat, should set a good pattern for the Sharks to rinse and repeat all day. They need to put the fear into the young an inexperienced Province back division; make them so sick of being run into that the gaps through which tries can be scored start to open all by themselves.

Above all – win and win well!
Momentum. Morale. Motivation. That’s all there is to take from this game. A bonus point win would be nice, but ultimately won’t mean much. What we need is for the Sharks to deliver a compelling 80 minutes at Newlands that increases whatever belief there is in the squad – to reinforce the point that they ARE a good side and that they CAN go on and win this thing. The performance comes first and the points difference ultimately is less important than how well the team plays.

Prediction?
Why, Sharks by plenty, of course.

WP: 15. Dillyn Leyds, 14. EW Viljoen, 13. Pat Howard, 12. Michael van der Spuy, 11. Devon Williams, 10. Kurt Coleman, 9. Louis Schreuder, 8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Rohan Kitshoff, 5. Gerbrandt Grobler, 4. Jurie van Vuuren, 3. Brok Harris (captain), 2. Tiaan Liebenberg, 1. Oli Kebble
Replacements: 16. Neil Rautenbach, 17. Justin Ackerman, 18. Gavin Annandale, 19. Anton van Zyl, 20. Patrick O’Brien, 21. Godlen Masimla, 22. Chevandre van Schoor

Sharks: 15. SP Marais, 14. Tonderai Chavhanga, 13. S’bura Sithole, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Lionel Cronje, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Tera Mtembu (Capt) , 7. Etienne Oosthuizen, 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Marco Wentzel, 4. Stephan Lewies, 3. Matt Stevens, 2. Monde Hadebe, 1. Thomas du Toit
Replacements: 16. Franco Marais, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. JC Astle, 20. Khaya Majola, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Fred Zeilinga

In the other games, we expect the Pumas, Lions and Blue Bulls to record comfortable victories. That will set up a tasty set of semi-finals, featuring the Bulls against Province at Newlands and the Sharks taking on the Lions at Ellis Park.



44 Comments

  • I’d go for Sharks, Kings, Lions (unfortunately) and Bulls.

  • Comment 1, posted at 09.10.14 16:53:08 by JD Reply
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  • Cheetahs must do us a favour. Surely to hopefully score another brace

  • Comment 2, posted at 09.10.14 17:26:00 by Dunx Reply

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  • Crikey, if the Sharks cant win this one…

  • Comment 3, posted at 09.10.14 17:31:14 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • Sharks, Pumas, Lions and Bulls, same as Rob

  • Comment 4, posted at 09.10.14 18:08:14 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 3) : haha…. I see what you’re doing!

  • Comment 5, posted at 09.10.14 18:19:11 by robdylan Reply
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  • In fact a bonus point win by the Pumas and losses by the Bulls and Cheetahs, without a bonus point for the Bulls, and the Pumas end in 4th spot.

    Inlikely that the Bulls will lose but the chance is there

  • Comment 6, posted at 09.10.14 19:09:34 by Baylion Reply

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  • @Baylion (Comment 6) : oh hells yes…. I completely missed that (incredibly unlikely) permutation.

  • Comment 7, posted at 09.10.14 19:25:26 by robdylan Reply
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  • You really need a form boko haram to guide you, Robbo?

  • Comment 8, posted at 09.10.14 20:02:55 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 8) : type with both thumbs….

  • Comment 9, posted at 09.10.14 20:19:41 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 9) :
    I usually type with all my fingers. But right now I’m not using one particular finger to type with. Care to guess which one?

  • Comment 10, posted at 09.10.14 20:53:26 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 10) : I have an inkling ;)

  • Comment 11, posted at 09.10.14 23:02:04 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : @VinChainSaw (Comment 3) : think maybe the Sharks might lose this one on purpose to give them a false sense of security. Let the mind games begin!!!!

  • Comment 12, posted at 09.10.14 23:39:52 by JD Reply
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  • @Baylion (Comment 6) : now you’re just making things up to keep busy! !! ;-)

  • Comment 13, posted at 09.10.14 23:41:18 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 13) : JD, I never make things up! :)

  • Comment 14, posted at 10.10.14 07:59:14 by Baylion Reply

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  • I still think this is a smart move by WP. They give their no.1 side a break this sat- but believe me they will have trained as a team all week. The ‘weakened’ side will put big pressure on the Sharks to win eventhough they are playing away from home. So Sharks will be desperate.. and Jaco Peyper blows the breakdowns etc pretty badly in my opinion…cant believe he is a test ref. Cheetahs/Lions is too close to call…although i have a feeling Lions may sneak it.

  • Comment 15, posted at 10.10.14 08:12:06 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @SheldonK (Comment 15) : I seem to recall WP being in a similar position before where they could rest their best players and that it eventually backfired on them but I could have it wrong.

  • Comment 16, posted at 10.10.14 09:04:48 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 16) : Yeh look there is always that chance as there is no guarantee of a win in any game. I just think i would do the same thing as a coach if i had already sewn up top spot with a game at home to spare. Great opportunity to really test his depth

  • Comment 17, posted at 10.10.14 09:23:35 by SheldonK Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 5) :

    Lol. The only side with anything to lose here are the Sharks. Its win-win for WP.
    So chuffed to see van Zyl on the bench btw.

  • Comment 18, posted at 10.10.14 11:16:20 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 18) : as much as I hate to admit it, you are right.

    Kind of “advantage: Toetie” here.

  • Comment 19, posted at 10.10.14 11:35:46 by robdylan Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 18) : Can’t fault AC’s decision here. I would do the same. A massive loss won’t even effect them mentally as its virtually a completely different side. I doubt it will be a massive score as these guys will know they have one opportunity to really show AC what they’ve got. I’m expecting them to put their bodies on the line for this one.

    Hopefully the Sharks will focus on improving the small details and not try force themselves to run rampant against this B side. That could backfire terribly and won’t help our cause going into the semis, even if they pull it off.

    A clean, and clinical win here is really the only result that will benefit the Sharks IMO.

  • Comment 20, posted at 10.10.14 12:34:25 by gregkaos Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 19) : @gregkaos (Comment 20) :

    4 players making their first starts and 4 debutants on the bench.

    That’s basically a club or u/21 side then.

    I make it 6 internationals in the Sharks side and one on the bench?

  • Comment 21, posted at 10.10.14 12:59:21 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 21) : and we all know Fred Zeilinga should be a Bok :)

  • Comment 22, posted at 10.10.14 13:06:09 by robdylan Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 21) : Only thing I don’t believe is that AC claims this move will create depth going into the semi’s. Morne pointed this out on twitter and I agree with him. Can only imagine AC saying this to appease some supporters who want to see their strongest side play against Sharks.

    Wrapping his 1st choice in cotton wool and effectively giving them a “Bye” makes sense.

    Also thought of one minor downside if WP lose. If the roles were reversed I would still agree with sending in a B side but I frikken loathe losing against WP, even if the odds are very heavily stacked. Pretty sure the same sentiment exists on your side no? ;-)

  • Comment 23, posted at 10.10.14 13:14:28 by gregkaos Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 22) :

    Lol. I honestly thought you were going to punt Sbura there!

  • Comment 24, posted at 10.10.14 13:19:39 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @gregkaos (Comment 23) :

    I’m not too fussed about losing to the Sharks bro. We’ve had the wood over you lot for a few years now… ;-)

    I think blooding youngsters against a desperate side is a useful exercise. Not so much for the semis, but certainly going forward.

  • Comment 25, posted at 10.10.14 13:21:27 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 24) : thanks for reminding me

  • Comment 26, posted at 10.10.14 13:25:26 by robdylan Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 25) : lol. Yeah going forward beyond the CC its good. Can’t argue with that. (Second part of your post that is!)

  • Comment 27, posted at 10.10.14 13:28:16 by gregkaos Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 26) :

    Apologies fella.

    Although, this must be akin to what it feels like being a kiwi when they play the Boks… except for this game we’re fielding the Bay of Plenty B side…

    Imagine if WP win…

  • Comment 28, posted at 10.10.14 13:33:12 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @gregkaos (Comment 27) :

    Lol. dont worry mate – the first part was just bait to reel in…

  • Comment 29, posted at 10.10.14 13:34:00 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 29) : Hahaha yeah figured. Was secretly hoping someone else would bite on this slow moving friday. :)

  • Comment 30, posted at 10.10.14 14:30:39 by gregkaos Reply
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  • @gregkaos (Comment 23) : A player has to play at least one league game to feature in the semis or final, so in that sense he is creating some depth in the event of injuries

  • Comment 31, posted at 10.10.14 17:55:40 by Baylion Reply

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  • @Baylion (Comment 31) : Fair point that I did not consider. I was thinking more in terms of quality of depth above. Just can’t help thinking that a single game completely devoid of 1st choice players is going to give those players the experience they’d need if they have to come in for the play offs.

    Then again, its infinity better than nothing!

  • Comment 32, posted at 10.10.14 18:27:44 by gregkaos Reply
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  • @Baylion (Comment 31) : @gregkaos (Comment 32) :

    The deadline to play that game has passed, unless I’m mistaken.
    Worms van Zyl is playing thsi weekend but is not able to be considered for the semis or final.

  • Comment 33, posted at 10.10.14 19:21:25 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • I went way too low with my Sharks pick… picked before the problems team sheet was revealed. . :(

  • Comment 34, posted at 10.10.14 22:55:50 by Franshark Reply
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  • I went way too low with my Sharks pick… picked before the problems team sheet was revealed.

  • Comment 35, posted at 10.10.14 22:56:09 by Franshark Reply
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  • Went too low with my Shark pick..

  • Comment 36, posted at 10.10.14 22:59:05 by Franshark Reply
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  • Oops.. sorry for the triple comments, it said comment fail.. so I cept on going. ..

  • Comment 37, posted at 10.10.14 23:00:47 by Franshark Reply
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  • @Franshark (Comment 37) : ok was thinking you’re just trying to emphasis your point by posting it three times!!! ;-)

  • Comment 38, posted at 10.10.14 23:14:41 by JD Reply
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  • @Baylion (Comment 6) : ja well the Kings put an end to that theory tonight. Pumas started like a house on fire and then in the end they were all burned out and in ashes and could not get the victories to stay in the playoffs ;-)

  • Comment 39, posted at 10.10.14 23:20:36 by JD Reply
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  • @Franshark (Comment 37) : yup…. I know about that one.

    Don’t have a clue how to fix it yet, but I am definitely thinking about it!

  • Comment 40, posted at 10.10.14 23:40:01 by robdylan Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 33) : This weekend is last chance. A player only needs one minute of one regular game. That’s why Pollard is on the bench for the Bulls even though he has a niggle

  • Comment 41, posted at 11.10.14 06:01:31 by Baylion Reply

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  • No Cheetah match thread?

    Cheetahs looking completely clueless against rolling mauls . . .

  • Comment 42, posted at 11.10.14 15:22:07 by Original Pierre Reply
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  • LIONS!!!!

    :D

    Looking forward to hosting the Sharks at the Lions Den

  • Comment 43, posted at 11.10.14 20:50:23 by Baylion Reply

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  • @Baylion (Comment 43) : and the Sharks and supporters are looking forward to going to Jozi!! Good luck. GO SHARKS!!!!!!!

  • Comment 44, posted at 11.10.14 22:57:05 by JD Reply
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