Full-strength Sharks on field

2014-10-10 00:00

THE Sharks have named as close to a full- strength side as possible for their Currie Cup clash against Western Province tomorrow, despite the latter doing the opposite.

Included in the powerful Sharks line-up is newly capped Springbok scrumhalf Cobus Reinach, who returns to the side not having a national contract.

“We are very happy [to have Reinach back], not only is Cobus a fantastic rugby player; he’s also a great guy.

“He’s got a lot of energy and brings a lot to the group,” said Sharks coach Brad Macleod-Henderson.

Some might say it is harsh for Reinach to leapfrog Cameron Wright and Conrad Hoffman into the starting XV, but

Macleod-Henderson believes it is the right decision.

“It’s always tough. Cameron and Conrad have done really well for us and we are happy with their performances, but Cobus has been away with the Boks and he was the starting scrumhalf in Super Rugby and he slots in quite nicely,” the coach said.

The Sharks pack have changed only slightly from last week with hooker Monde Hadebe coming in for the injured Kyle Cooper and Matt Stevens getting a start, giving Lourens Adriaanse a break.

In the backline, S’bura Sithole shifts to outside centre in Paul Jordaan’s injury-

enforced absence and Tonderai Chavhanga takes his place on the wing.

Although Province have named a second string side to face the Sharks in an effort to rest some key players, Macleod-Henderson has named a strong side in an effort to gain continuity.

“Every week you want to make sure you are selecting a team you believe is going to go out there and get the result. This week is no exception — it’s going to be very tough down in Newlands, so we’ve chosen a team we are very confident in,” the coach said.

Also in the back of the Sharks’ minds is the chance of a home semi-final if the Cheetahs beat the Lions in the game before theirs.

“A home semi-final is fantastic for two reasons. One, it’s always great to play at home, you’ve got all the comforts, you don’t need to travel and everyone is comfortable with the surroundings. Secondly, it’s a reward for all our supporters,” he said.

Technically Province are known for their blanketing defence; ability to pilfer ball at the breakdown and feed off errors. Sharks captain Tera Mtembu said his charges would have to be sharp on the day to rule out errors that cost them in the middle of the tournament.

“We’ve come along nicely. Our defence and our handling errors were high at a stage in the competition, but we’ve done well in the last couple of games.

“A team like Western Province will thrive on that — they thrive off turnovers, so I think our execution will be important on the weekend.”

The Sharks face Western Province at 5.05 pm tomorrow afternoon at New­lands.

Team (15-1):

SP Marais, Tonderai Chavhanga, S’bura Sithole, Andre Esterhuizen, Lwazi Mvovo, Lionel Cronje, Cobus Reinach, Tera Mtembu (c), Etienne Oosthuizen, Jacques Botes, Marco Wentzel, Stephan Lewies, Matt Stevens, Monde Hadebe, Thomas du Toit.

Replacements: Franco Marais, Dale Chadwick, Lourens Adriaanse, JC Astle, Khaya Majola, Conrad Hoffmann, Fred Zeilinga.

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