Huge test awaits

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 5 Aug 2014 at 13:04
Tagged with : , , , , , , , ,

The Cell C Sharks get their Currie Cup defence underway in perhaps the most challenging fashion possible, when they travel to Kimberley to face a settled and dangerous Griquas team this Saturday.

With the local calendar now resembling nothing other than a ridiculous logjam, the fact that Currie Cup kicks off a mere week after Super Rugby ends is always going to disadvantage teams that have a heavy load in the latter competition – and this year the Sharks are in a worse position than most, as the only South African side to make the knock-out rounds at all.

Add to that the loss of eight Springboks, at least eight other senior players (whether to Japan or more lengthy overseas deals) and the handing over to a new coach in charge for the first time, there is very little reason to optimistic ahead of this weekend’s game. The Sharks have, in the past, recovered from an early-season Kimberley defeat and gone on to win the Currie Cup trophy; while we’re by no means ready to write off their challenge before a ball has been kicked in earnest, I think we need to acknowledge just how tough these first few weeks are going to be for them.

Premier Division new boys the EP Kings and the Pumas have, like Griquas, spent considerably more time honing both squad and game plan ahead of this weekend’s tournament kick-off.

Expect the Sharks to stick to their Supre Rugby blue print, but expect there to be some teething problems early on due to the inevitable change in personnel. While coach Brad Macleod-Henderson will have a near-untouched second row, midfield and back three to call on from the Super Rugby squad, it’s the composition of the “middle five”, the loose trio and half backs, that are likely to cause the most debate. Big calls need to be made in the back row, where Jacques Botes and AN Other young player will need to form a strong combination with new captain Tera Mtembu, at scrumhalf (Hanco Venter and Cam Wright are both talented but untried at this level) and – most crucially – at pivot, where Fred Zeilinga, Tim Swiel and new recruit Lionel Cronje will all be vying for game time.

The Sharks team to face Griquas will be named on Thursday morning.


  • Not to worry, the Sharks need to lose this game in any event.

  • Comment 1, posted at 05.08.14 13:34:46 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @Pokkel (Comment 1) : Spot on, as history will tell us, if we win this we won’t win the Currie Cup.

  • Comment 2, posted at 05.08.14 14:06:26 by markp Reply
  • See on SS an article stating that both Lewies and Oosthuizen are 50/50 starters due to injury…

    …that leaves us awfully thin at lock.

  • Comment 3, posted at 05.08.14 14:17:12 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • Wasn’t this our first game last season as well? And we lost the away leg if I remember correctly.

  • Comment 4, posted at 05.08.14 14:34:44 by John Galt Reply
    John Galt
  • Most of the Super Rugby 2016 starting team could potentially come out of this Sharks Currie Cup 2014 team. It’s a time for youngsters to gain experience and hopefully make names for themselves. Also a season for the Sharks mgmt to ID positions where better quality players will be needed for the team to be competitive at the higher level. Very exciting time for the young scrumhalves. 3 quality u21 9’s. Sharks just need 1 of the 3 to step it up and move in the direction of becoming a world class player.

  • Comment 5, posted at 05.08.14 14:36:16 by hashtag Reply
  • @John Galt (Comment 4) : No, although they were our 1st game last year and we last to them, it was in Durban. 😳

  • Comment 6, posted at 05.08.14 14:37:36 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply
    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • Is Jake White going to coach the CC side?

  • Comment 7, posted at 05.08.14 14:44:48 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @Pokkel (Comment 7) : no

  • Comment 8, posted at 05.08.14 14:53:15 by robdylan Reply
  • “but expect there to be some teething problems early on” right, well, yes, the Super15 side was still having these problems until 2 weeks ago.

  • Comment 9, posted at 05.08.14 14:54:31 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Griquas will be very tough and a solid structured low risk game against them is def advised. But our forwards will need to front up. They hav had a whole comp to prepare them for this already.

  • Comment 10, posted at 05.08.14 14:57:30 by SheldonK Reply
  • Ouens, het Pote nie die kwaste gedrop nie? So we should be ok?

  • Comment 11, posted at 05.08.14 15:20:46 by R Hayward Reply
  • @R Hayward (Comment 11) : If I’m not mistaken, they now have Hawies as head coach, and their assistant coach managed to coach them back into the CC Premier division.

    Said assistant coach did quite a few years at few English clubs, learning how professional rugby should actually work.

    I think Hawies will be a far better coach than Pote.

  • Comment 12, posted at 05.08.14 15:26:38 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 12) : Oh no!
    So they will be just as good if not even better???

  • Comment 13, posted at 05.08.14 15:28:03 by R Hayward Reply
  • @R Hayward (Comment 13) : Better, much better! 😐

    Which is why I would call a Sharks win an upset. 😉

  • Comment 14, posted at 05.08.14 15:34:43 by FireTheLooser Reply
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 12) : Hawies is probably the best backline coach in the country by a country mile.

  • Comment 15, posted at 06.08.14 11:30:52 by Bokhoring Reply

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