Sharks to raise bar to Lions' level

Tue, 16 Aug 2016 21:09
Large stephan lewies h s 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Start from scratch and build a solid foundation for future success.

It may sound like a cliche, but it is a proven formula and one the Sharks are looking to follow.

One-time Springbok lock Stephan Lewies, at 24 one of the 'senior' players in the Sharks squad, said they can take a leaf out of the Lions' book and become a major force again.

Lewies, speaking to the media ahead of their Currie Cup Round Three encounter with the Boland Cavaliers in Wellington on Friday, said there is great excitement after a winning start to the season under new coach Robert du Preez.

Back-to-back bonus-point victories over the Pumas and Griquas have left the Sharks in a handy position in a shortened Currie Cup competition.

Some continuity from Super Rugby has contributed to their good form.

"Our motto for this season is Super Rugby standards for the Currie Cup," Lewies told the media gathering, adding that they would like to build on their Super Rugby performances.

"I think it's shown in our scrums and line-outs, both are functioning quite well," he added.

There is certainly some parallels to be drawn  between the Sharks and the Lions, beaten Super Rugby finalists this year.

Three years ago the Johannesburg-based franchise was kicked out of Super Rugby and they started from scratch, building a team and a new culture.

"In a sense," Lewies said, when asked it they are in the same boat as the Lions were in 2013, adding: "Especially after last year $when we lost a lot of big names - like Bismarck [du Plessis], Jannie [du Plessis] and Willem [Alberts].

"They are big name players and added massive value to the Sharks.

"We have to go where the Lions were a few years ago when they started building from the ground up.

"There are a lot of young players here and that's exciting. We are looking forward to it - hopefully, we can get the same structures they did."

Despite their impressive start, the Sharks are aware that a lot can change in the remaining six rounds of the Currie Cup competition.

Lewies struck a cautionary note when he pointed out that they are still a work in progress.

"It's a process, it's not something that's going to be a success overnight," he said, adding: "But [coach] Robert du Preez urges us to improve every practice and every game.

"As long as there is constant improvement, he's happy. And the players like that."

Having spent most of last year on the sidelines following surgery for a ruptured his patella tendon, he has had an uninterrupted run this year.

"It's great to be on the park for a long time, that's how you improve and I've enjoyed myself," he said.

"After the injury last year, I thought I may have to call it a day. So every time I get onto the field, it's a true blessing."

@rugby365com

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 14h15 Paris
Fri, 27 April 2018
Munster v Ulster 22h00 Thomond Park
Kings v Cheetahs 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Treviso v Zebre 22h00 Stadio Monigo
Dragons v Scarlets 22h00 Rodney Parade
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Myreside
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Connacht v Leinster 22h00 Sportsground
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 22h00 Sixways
Wasps v Northampton Saints 22h00 Ricoh Arena
London Irish v Saracens 22h00 Madejski Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Welford Road
Gloucester v Bath 22h00 Kingsholm
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 22h00 Sandy Park
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
Sharks v Bulls 10 | 40
CURRIE CUP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Sharks 12 10 0 2 47
Western Province 12 7 0 5 37
Golden Lions 12 6 0 6 35
Blue Bulls 12 5 0 7 32
Free State Cheetahs 12 6 0 6 31
Pumas 12 4 0 8 27
Griquas 12 4 0 8 26