Why Jacques beat off Keegan

Thu, 22 Aug 2013 09:32
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Keegan Daniel is back in the Sharks starting XV, but still takes a back seat to veteran loose forward Jacques Botes.

Keegan Daniel is back in the Sharks starting XV, but still takes a back seat to veteran loose forward Jacques Botes.

Daniel made his expected return to the side, for their Currie Cup Round Three encounter with the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday, but Botes retained the captaincy armband.

Sharks forward coach Brad Macleod-Henderson explained that "continuity" was the main reason behind the decision to not reinstate Daniel as captain.

Having recovered from the knee injury that saw him withdraw from the team ahead of their Week One match with Griquas, Daniel's return adds some experience to the Durban outfit ahead of their trip to Bloemfontein - where they take on a dangerous Cheetahs side.

"We are leaving it with Jacques [Botes]," Macleod-Henderson told this website, adding: "We want to maintain some continuity, so Jacques will stay at No.8 and stay as captain for this week."

Botes, who was not even named in the original matchday 22 a fortnight ago, was promoted to the starting XV and took over the captaincy for the 30-32 loss to Griquas and then stayed on as skipper for the 33-25 win over the Golden Lions last week.

"We want to build on what we did well last week," the Sharks mentor said.

"We did a lot better against the Lions than what we did in the first week [against Griquas].

"Every week we need to keep on building and aiming to get better," he added.

The Sharks will look to get set-piece dominance against a Cheetahs team that has a decidedly Super Rugby look to it.

"Our scrums and line-outs functioned well," Macleod-Henderson said of last week's win over the Lions.

"Those are obviously the areas we are looking to maintain.

"Among the things we will look to improve is the fact that we conceded soft points early on.

"There are a few things defensively that we worked on this week."

In the first two weeks the Sharks got off to a rather slow start - with Griquas racing into a 13-0 lead and the Lions taking a 14-6 lead in the first quarter.

"Last week was slightly difference, the one and intercept try and the second when we were applying pressure on them and they got away from our defensive line for a 95-metre try," the Macleod-Henderson told this website.

"That was very different to the previous week, where we were on the back foot for most of the first quarter [against Griquas].

"We will look to play better in the first half and hopefully we won't have any problems at the start of the game."

Macleod-Henderson admitted that in a short, intense competition like the Currie Cup - where you are up against a quality side every week - the margin for error is so much smaller.

"Every week you need to be up for the challenge and Friday we have another tough game against the Cheetahs," he added.

By Jan de Koning

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