Currie Cup milestones for Sharks this Friday

2013-10-01 00:00

IT will be an evening of Currie Cup milestones for the Sharks when they face the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.

Flank Jacques Botes, who has been rested in recent weeks, will return to become the most capped player in Currie Cup history, breaking Helgard Muller’s record of 142 caps.

Botes played in 27 Currie Cup games for the Pumas before moving to Durban, and he will make his 116th appearance for the Sharks on Friday.

Fellow backrower Keegan Daniel will win his 100th Currie Cup cap on Friday.

Sharks coach Sean Everitt said last night that former Bok flank Jean Deysel would be returning in another rotational switch.

“We didn’t have any injuries at Ellis Park on Friday night, which was most pleasing.

“We’ll only know later in the week if we’re going to have the services of [Springbok squad members] Marcell Coetzee and Pieter-Steph du Toit, but at this stage we’re not planning on having them.”

Everitt said the coaching staff were delighted with the away win over the Golden Lions on Friday.

“It’s not easy to go up to Ellis Park and get a result.

“The last time we won up there was 2009, so I guess we got a monkey off our backs.

“I thought the guys really did well at the end to keep the Lions from scoring.

“We’re very happy with the result, but at the same time we certainly have a lot of work to do.”

The Sharks’ backline coach paid tribute to U21 lock Stefan Lewies who made his debut against the Lions.

“It was a huge step up for him, playing Currie Cup rugby against a side who pride themselves on their set piece.

“He was up against a very good lock in Franco van der Merwe, but did himself proud and he made a huge contribution.”

Everitt said the defence had been vulnerable after the Sharks had built a useful lead.

“We allowed them back at us, but once again the guys showed tremendous character to keep the Lions out in the second half, particularly in the last five minutes of the game when they were threatening our line,” he said.

“We showed a lot of composure and fought for a good win in the end.”

Everitt said the Sharks would face a searching test at Loftus.

“The Bulls put in an incredible performance in beating Griquas [52-10] on the weekend.

“No one else has been able to put that kind of score on them this year. Griquas are difficult to beat in Kimberley so the Bulls were really good. We’ll have to be at our best at Loftus on Friday.”

The match kicks off at 7.10 pm.

• A proposal to expand the Currie Cup to eight teams in 2014 was rejected by a special general council meeting of Saru in Johannesburg yesterday.

A second proposal — dependent on the success of the first — that the Lions be entrenched in Super Rugby for the next two years, therefore fell away.

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