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Stop Sharks' oversized backs

Fri, 19 Apr 2013 15:50
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Their loose forwards are particularly dangerous
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The Sharks' loose forwards pose a major threat to the Cheetahs' prospects of overtaking them at the top of the South African Super Rugby conference.

The Sharks top the SA Conference with 26 points, followed by the Cheetahs and Bulls on 23. Victory or the Cheetahs in Durban on Saturday could see them take prime position in the SA conference, depending on what happens in Port Elizabeth between the Southern Kings and Bulls.

Cheetahs assistant coach Hawies Fourie, speaking to this website ahead of this crunch all-SA derby, said the way to beat the Sharks is to stop them from gaining momentum.

And that momentum is often created by their loose forwards, some who play like "oversized backs".

"They have more variation in their game plan than other SA teams," Fourie said.

"They have a great set of forwards and in particular, they have outstanding loose forwards.

"Then there is Pieter-Steph du Toit, an outstanding player who gets them momentum and that is what the Sharks like.

"Their forwards must give them momentum to get their game-plan going."

He said the Cheetahs will place a huge focus on defence, to ensure they slow the Sharks' ball down at the tackle/breakdown and tackle their forwards back.

"That is the only way to beat the Sharks - if you allow them to get momentum and ball on the front foot, they have the players who can hurt you.

"Their loose forwards are particularly dangerous - a player like Keegan Daniel, who is basically an oversized back."

Fourie admitted that the Sharks also have an array of quality backline talent.

"They have dangerous players like Patrick Lambie, Meyer Bosman and Paul Jordaan, who have great strike power and playmaking ability," the Cheetahs backline coach said.

"The way to put them under pressure and contain them is to stop their forwards [behind the advantage line]," he added.

By Jan de Koning

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