An early must win for the Sharks

Written by Pierre McLeod (pierre_mackie)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 23 Aug 2013 at 09:30
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

The Currie Cup is only in its 3rd round, and all except the Lions have got a win under their belt. With only one point separating 5th and 1st place, the pace is not yet set and anyone can take top honours after this weekends games. It’s unlikely that the Bulls and Province will lose and should the Sharks manage to put one over their bogey opponents, the Cheetahs, they could find themselves in 3rd place.

One could say it is still early days, but this weekend will be a crucial must win for the Sharks if they want to have a say come play-off stages. They often leave it up to other teams to determine their fate and by beating the Cheetahs on Friday they can leap frog the men from Bloemfontein and open a possible 3 point lead and much needed confidence from the away win.

The Sharks are not yet looking like a champion side, but they did improve slightly after their disappointing loss against the Griquas in the first round. The Sharks were bullied upfront and their backs could do nothing with the little possession they had. Jacques Botes showed his experience and in a fairly young side showed his leadership but in the end it was too little to change the outcome of the match. Only the boot of Butch James kept them in the game with some accurate shots at goal.

They looked slightly better against the Lions, but poor defence and a silly kick from James that resulted in a Lions try kept them in the game. The match was pretty even with about 5 minutes to go when the Sharks latest signing SP Marais intercepted a ball that could have so easily been a try for the Lions down the other side of the field. The Sharks however did not escape injury free, as Odwa Ndungane left the field and he will be forced to miss the match against the Cheetahs.

The coaching staff had to make some changes with Marais moving to fullback for the injured Ndungane. Sizo Maseko will cover on the wing with Fred Zeilinga getting his first start and taking over from James in the fly half channel. An interesting match up awaits us in the midfield where Louis Ludik and young Heimar Williams will have their hands full with Johann Sadie and Robert Ebersohn.

There will also be an interesting battle with Keegan Daniel making his return after injury ruled him out just before the start of their first game. Botes and Jean Deysel will join Daniel in the battle of the loosies against Philip van der Walt, Lappies Labuschagne and Boom Prinsloo. The Sharks might have a better known reserve bench and with players like Craig Burden, Peet Marais, Tera Mtembu and Cobus Reinach coming on with 20 minutes to go they can easily swing the game in the visitors favour.

The Cheetahs always seem to have the ability to trip the Sharks when gaining momentum, but by mauling it up and throwing it wide could be the answer for the Sharks when facing the Cheetahs at home tonight.

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