Front row clash looms

2014-08-22 00:00

THE Sharks have made some minor changes for their third Currie Cup match against Cheetahs in Durban tomorrow night.

The most notable is in the front row around hooker Kyle Cooper, who retains his starting berth, while the props have been swapped out.

That means that British and Irish Lions prop Matt Stevens and Dale Chadwick pack down around Cooper in the starting line-up for the first time this year.

“We thought it was a good time to give Dale and Matt a go, they both came on against the Griquas and did really well,” said coach Brad Macleod-Henderson.

Cooper is getting an extended run and has been looking good in the opening rounds of the Currie Cup.

“Kyle is a fantastic hooker, he sat on the bench a lot in Super Rugby and now its his chance to start and he is playing nicely and working hard,” Macleod-Henderson said.

Meanwhile the backline is unchanged for a third game in a row although Macleod-Henderson admitted he was in two minds about making changes.

“Its always a balancing act between giving guys an opportunity and trying to keep continuity in the side, so its great to keep the same backline that did very nicely on the weekend and I’m sure they’re looking forward to the game on Saturday.”

Scrumhalf Conrad Hoffmann will have an opportunity coming off the bench after returning to the Sharks after a stint with the Brumbies.

“We are very excited for him, he is a very talented player with a lot of experience so its great to have him on the bench.”

Heimar Williams is also providing cover off the bench and Macleod-Henderson was happy to give the “versatile player” an opportunity. He is expected to come on at inside centre.

Earlier in the week, Tonderai Chavhanga spoke about enjoying his time at the Sharks and Macleod-Henderson could only sing praises of the wing.

“Tonderai has been fantastic, he’s shown glimpses of what he can do when he gets the ball, he is seriously lightning quick and he is a wonderful athlete to watch in motion,” he said.

Looking at their opponents, the Sharks are particularly wary of Cheetahs scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius. However Macleod-Henderson has also warned his charges to front up to the visitors’ pack.

“Upfront, they’ve got a good maul, they back themselves there and we’ll have to make sure we that we cover them well,” he said.

The mood in the camp seems upbeat ahead of the clash and the players have spoken about working hard and having fun at the same time.

“The guys are working very hard and I think if your working hard, enjoying what your doing and being successful you will have fun,” the coach said.

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