Sharks receive triple Bok boost

Thu, 24 Oct 2013 11:48
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The Sharks have been bolstered by the return to fitness of three of their Springboks for Saturday’s Currie Cup Final against Western Province.

The Sharks have been bolstered by the return to fitness of three of their Springboks for Saturday’s Currie Cup Final against Western Province at Newlands.

In what must be close to their strongest line-up possible, the Sharks side include Springbok props Jannie du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira as well as loose forward Willem Alberts.

Flank Jean Deysel has been ruled out with a hamstring injury sustained in last week’s semi-final victory over Free State and will not play, which means Alberts comes into the starting line-up at flank.

Mtawarira, a late withdrawal last week, has been passed fit along with Du Plessis to complete an all-Springbok front row that includes Bismarck du Plessis at hooker.

The rest of the team remains unchanged as the Sharks enjoy continuity in team selection, bolstered by the return to fitness of their Springboks.

Looking back at their pool match against Western Province two weeks ago, forwards coach Brad Macleod-Henderson says that, “I thought we played nicely in the last pool game we played against Province. Rugby is a physical sport and every week the collisions are important and winning those are going to be key to getting a victory on Saturday.

“They have a quality experienced pack which has been finding a lot of good ball, and some electrifying backs out wide. But we’re worrying about them as a team rather than individuals at the moment. We just need to make sure that physically we will be up for it – no doubt we will be.”

In the past three years, the Sharks and Province have met in two previous Finals, both played in Durban, with each team enjoying one victory apiece. But for Sharks backline coach Sean Everitt, what’s happened in the past has no bearing on this match.

“We haven’t spoken about records or looked back at the past,” he admits, “we’re certainly looking forward to the game on Saturday and we’ve gone about our preparation as we would for any game we’d play in the round stages. We’re looking at keeping everything the same, everyone knows within themselves that it’s a massive game on Saturday.”

Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Louis Ludik, 12 Francois Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain) , 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Peet Marais, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Stephan Lewies, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Fred Zeilinga, 22 Heimar Williams.

Date: Saturday, October 26
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17.30 (15.30 GMT)
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan
Assistant referees: Christie du Preez, Stefan Breytenbach
TMO: Deon van Blommestein

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Team P W D L Pts
Golden Lions 10 10 0 0 48
Blue Bulls 10 8 0 2 39
Western Province 10 7 0 3 35
Free State Cheetahs 10 3 2 5 24
Sharks 10 4 1 5 22
Pumas 10 3 1 6 17
EP Kings 10 2 0 8 12
Griquas 10 1 0 9 8