Currie Cup: Nienaber warns of upset

2012-10-26 00:00

WHILE the Sharks have spent the week trying to shake the favourites tag ahead of tomorrow’s Currie Cup final at King’s Park, the respected Western Province defence coach Jacques Nie­naber has been highlighting reasons why his team can cause a monumental upset.

Sharks coach John Plumtree has downplayed talk that his side were firm favourites, describing it as an attempt by Province to take pressure off their own players. He highlighted Province’s excellent lineout, their strong driving and the character they showed in fighting back from the brink to beat the Golden Lions last Saturday as reasons why they would be a major threat in the final.

Province coach Allister Coetzee had early in the week described the Sharks “as unbelievable, the best side in South Africa” and joked that his team would need all 22 players on the field at the same time to win.

His colleague Nienaber does not agree and he has told Cape Town reporters that WP have the “blueprint” of how to end the Sharks’ undefeated Currie Cup run at home.

Nienaber said Province now have the right balance between attack, defence and tactical kicking, adding that they were competitive in the Currie Cup second round game in King’s Park and had matched the Sharks pack until two red cards derailed them and they lost 43-27.

“Our technical game troubled them,” he said of the Province display.

Nienaber said it was the Sharks’ tactical kicking and their defence rather than their lively attack which had been instrumental in their success this year.

“But we now have the formula to beat the Sharks in the final,” he added.

Sharks captain Keegan Daniel and fullback Louis Ludik have meanwhile both highlighted the advantages to playing the final at home.

“We know how tough it is to win a title away from home and there is no doubt you do have a slight edge when you host a final,” said Daniel.

“We travelled to the Lions last year and were under par in losing. But we did learn lessons from that game.

“In the Super Rugby final this year [against the Chiefs in New Zealand], we gave ourselves the chance, but the travel was just too much.

“Now we find ourselves with an opportunity to host the final and we have to take advantage and also reward our supporters for their loyalty.”

Ludik agreed: “The crowd support does make it so much easier. Being at home, with your family, means that nothing much changes [in the preparation]. You are in a familiar environment, in your comfort zone.”

Sharks assistant coach Hugh Reece-Edwards said that complacency would not be a problem and the importance of the occasion would ensure the players were ready for the challenge.

“Attitude won’t be a problem because of the size of the occasion. It’s a final and everyone will be up for it, but what we need to ensure is accuracy and that we keep our focus for the entire 80 minutes.

“In everything we do, we must be accurate. If we have to kick, we kick accurately, if we defend, we defend accurately, if we attack, the hands are good and we round off opportunities.

“There have been games where it is all about attitude and trying to get the players up for the game, but that won’t be a factor this weekend,” he said.

The final kicks off at 5 pm tomorrow and tickets are still available.

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