Butch: Sharks are the best I've known

2013-08-15 00:00

BUTCH James, the 42-Test Springbok veteran, believes the current Sharks players are as talented as any he has seen in his eight years in Durban.

James, who returned to the province this year after four years with Bath Rugby Club and two with the Golden Lions, played for the Sharks from 2000-2007.

“With all my years playing here at the Sharks before leaving for overseas, I haven’t seen such a talented bunch of players as there are here now,” the 34-year-old James said yesterday.

The Sharks named their team yesterday to face the Golden Lions in tomorrow evening’s Currie Cup game at King’s Park and, as expected, there are two changes because of injury.

SP Marais, contracted from the Kings, takes over from wing Sizo Maseko (hamstring strain) while Heimar Williams will start at inside centre following Tim Whitehead’s rib and ankle injuries against Griquas.

Keegan Daniel remains sidelined with a damaged knee and Jacques Botes will again lead the team from number eight.

James said that the Sharks were now under pressure to play to their potential.

“We cannot think that just because we’re talented, it will happen.”

James said he was enjoying the part he was playing with the young Sharks squad.

“The more senior you get, the more of a mentoring role you have to take on. We’re all trying to help out the youngsters, but they are pretty talented and we can learn from them as well. It’s a two-way street and I’m enjoying that role.”

James said he agreed with backline coach Sean Everitt that it was better to get the poor performance (in losing to Griquas on Friday night) behind them early in the competition.

“It’s obviously very disappointing to start the way we did, but now rather than later on in the competition. It was a bit of a wake-up call.”

He said that in spite of playing badly they were ahead at the final hooter — “and, fortunately, we have this weekend to fix it”.

James is confident the Sharks’ problems can be quickly resolved.

“Our attitude was wrong and Griquas were hungrier than us, which is disappointing. So it’s pretty easy to fix. We just have to look at ourselves and sort it out. The plan was to keep our discipline, but we did not and we let ourselves down.

“The competition is short with just 10 games in the pool stages, but there is enough time to get over a hiccup like that. If we look back to 2010, the guys lost their first game and ended up with the Currie Cup that year.

”We can definitely come back from this loss. It’s a tight competition and it will be tight all the way through but we can’t let that happen again,” said James.

Bok flyhalf Elton Jantjies is back in the Lions team after sitting on the bench in their 30-29 home loss to the Cheetahs last week. Jantjies replaces Marnitz Boshoff, who moves to fullback, replacing Chrysander Botha.

Centre Robert de Bruin also replaces Stokkies Hanekom (shoulder injury) while, among the forwards, Jaco Kriel and Warwick Tecklenburg trade places at flank and Chris van Zyl replaces lock Stephan Greeff.

TEAMS

Sharks: 15. Odwa Ndungane, 14. SP Marais, 13. Louis Ludik, 12. Heimar Williams, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Butch James, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Jacques Botes (captain), 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Brynard Stander, 5. Marco Wentzel, 4. Edwin Hewitt, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Dale Chadwick. Replacements: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Rayno Gerber, 18. Peet Marais, 19. Tera Mtembu, 20. Cobus Reinach, 21. Fred Zeilinga, 22. Jaco van Tonder.

Lions: 15 Marnitz Boshoff, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Robert De Bruin, 12 Dylan Des Fountain, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Guy Cronje, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Derick Minnie (captain), 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Jacques Van Rooyen. Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Lambert Groenewald, 19 Warwick Tecklenburg, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Lionel Cronje, 22 Chrysander Botha

Kick-off: 5.05 pm. Referee: Ben Crouse.

Other weekend Currie Cup fixtures (home team first):

Tomorrow – Bulls vs Griquas, 7.10 pm. Saturday - WP vs Free State, 7.15 pm

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