Beast backs Sharks depth

Tue, 11 Mar 2014 13:36
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After questions were raised about their bench Tendai Mtawarira insisted they have the necessary depth to challenge for Super Rugby honours. 
 
After questions were raised about their bench Sharks prop Tendai Mtawarira insisted they have the necessary depth to challenge for Super Rugby honours. 
 
The Durban franchise convincingly beat the Lions 37-23 in the end on Saturday to move top of the competition standings but it must be said that they struggled to assert any dominance in the second half with their replacements in play. 
 
Sharks boss Jake White shouldered some of the blame, saying he made changes too early and Mtawarira felt it was something which would improve. 
 
“We've got great depth and it's something you'll see more as the season progresses,” he said. 
 
“We have guys who are not even playing that can contribute a lot to the team like Keegan Daniel and Jacques Botes so I think we've got depth.” 
 
JP Pietersen also returned to duty on Tuesday after a spell in Japan and may well be drafted straight in with the Sharks backline facing a bit of a shake-up. 
 
Speedy outside centre Paul Jordaan has been sidelined for a month with a knee injury and veteran wing Odwa Ndungane has been granted compassionate leave after the sudden death of his father,  however Patrick Lambie is expected to be fit again after withdrawing at the last minute against the Lions due to illness. 
 
Springbok prop Mtawarira said the season had gone according to plan with the Sharks having won three out of three with two bonus points. 
 
“We've been working very hard every week and we've had the rewards so far,” he said. 
 
“A lot of the guys have come of age and we've now got that experience on our side. You can hear on the field that everybody is talking and it's really great to have that.” 
 
The 28-year-old said White had made a definite impact in his first year in charge. 
 
“Jake has a certain way he wants to play. I think he's a very clever man and knows exactly what he's doing. 
 
“For us it's been a good change and one we're really enjoying. We're playing a brand of rugby that everyone is liking.” 
 
He also felt the pre-tournament favourites had not yet hit peak level. 
 
“You can feel the confidence is growing. We're not even playing to our full potential yet, so every player has to keep on working hard to get there. 
 
“Jake is very good at getting that out of players, so I'm sure there'll be further improvements as the season continues.” 
 
The Sharks face 2011 champions, Australian side the Reds, in Durban this weekend. 
 
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Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 11 4 0 7 23
Waratahs 11 4 0 7 19
Reds 11 3 0 8 16
Force 11 3 0 8 13
Rebels 11 1 1 9 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 12 0 0 54
Hurricanes 11 9 0 2 43
Chiefs 11 9 0 2 43
Highlanders 12 9 0 3 41
Blues 12 6 0 6 31
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Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 11 7 0 4 30
Bulls 11 3 0 8 15
Cheetahs 12 2 0 10 11
Sunwolves 11 1 0 10 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 11 0 1 51
Sharks 12 8 1 3 38
Jaguares 11 5 0 6 24
Kings 11 4 0 7 19