Sharks want to shut out Cloete
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Sharks will be out to limit Chris Cloete's influence on the game when the Durban-based side takes on the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Cloete has been one of Super Rugby's standout players this season after his exploits at the breakdowns and his overall work rate for the PE side.
The 26-year-old flank was instrumental in his side's last two wins against the Waratahs in Sydney and the Melbourne Rebels in PE before their bye last weekend.
Cloete's performances have also made him a serious contender for the Springbok No.6 jersey leading up to the June Test series against France.
"We know Chris [Cloete] well - he is from here, so we know he is very strong on the floor," said Sharks lock Stephan Lewies.
"If he gets in low it is very hard to get him off the ball, so we trained hard today [Tuesday] to counter that. I think we did it well in the first game against him. We took him out of the game, so I think the focus is the same.
"We want to concentrate on our game more than them, but it [Cloete's breakdown play] is definitely a threat and it is something we did look at."
The Sharks have also won their last two games after their horror show at home against the Rebels [9-all draw] a few weeks ago and Lewies believes that the pack has played a big role in the turnaround.
"After that Rebels game, we spoke about continuous improvement and I think that is what our pack is all about.
"Going into the last few games we want to get better and I think we have improved since that game and this week we want to take it another step up by obviously making less mistakes, dominating the set piece and dominating in the loose.
"They [Kings] are very good on the ground. We focussed heavily on our rucks today [Tuesday], so we want clear rucks and get quick ball and that comes from the forwards. We want to impose ourselves and give the backs a good platform," Lewies added.
Lewies said is also enjoying the competition with fellow locks Ruan Botha and Etienne Oosthuizen in the Sharks' camp this season.
"There is healthy competition between the three of us," said Lewies.
"I think it brings out the best in all of us and I think each time any of us gets a chance, we have all done well on the park.
"I think it is good competition and I think we are getting that in a lot of other positions as well, which is making a strong team."