Claassens: We won't go into our shells

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 09:29
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INTERVIEW: Sharks scrumhalf Michael Claassens says he and he and his teammates will so throw everything at the Golden Lions when the two teams meet at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Friday.

The Currie Cup Premier Division Round Nine clash is effectively a knockout match, with the winner advancing to the play-offs at the expense of the other.

One scenario where both teams could advance to the play-offs involves Western Province losing at home to Boland, but that is unlikely to happen.

"It is a quarterfinal so you have to be on top of your game and not make too many mistakes," Claassens told reporters in Durban.

"We will try to stick with the way we have been playing in the Currie Cup. We have changed it [game] since Super Rugby and it has worked for us. 

"I think people prefer if we play this way as well. You will get a few opportunities and you will have to take them, but we will definitely have a go. We won’t go into our shells and kick everything."

The Sharks have embraced a more adventurous style under head coach Robert du Preez in this year's Currie Cup campaign, but Claassens admits that the forwards are the ones that are laying the foundation for the backline to flourish out wide. 

"If the forwards dominate then the game is so much easier," Claassens added.

"I think their [Lions] biggest weapon is probably momentum. As soon as they get go-forward ball they are very dangerous so we have to stop their momentum."

While booking a play-off spot will be the Sharks' top priority on Friday, a chance to host a semifinal is also a real possibility for the Durbanites.

A win with a bonus-point will be enough for the Sharks to overtake the Blue Bulls into second spot. The Bulls have already completed their league phase games and will have a bye in Round Nine.

"It is crazy - if we get five points we get a home semi and if we get nothing we are out of it. Hopefully, we get the five points," Claassens added.


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Team P W D L Pts
Free State Cheetahs 8 8 0 0 39
Blue Bulls 8 6 0 2 30
Western Province 8 5 0 3 27
Golden Lions 8 5 0 3 26
Sharks 8 5 0 3 25
Griquas 8 4 0 4 21
Boland 8 2 0 6 11
Pumas 8 1 0 7 10
EP Kings 8 0 0 8 1