Last Cup for Shark’s veteran

2014-08-06 00:00

THE 2014 Currie Cup will be veteran flank Jacques Botes’s last hurrah after 10 years of faithful service for the Sharks.

Botes, who made his Currie Cup debut for the Pumas in 2002, will call it a day after the Sharks look to defend their title as domestic champions.

Botes has seen little action during the year — he featured in the Vodacom Cup and played one game during Super Rugby. His latest outing was in local club rugby, where he played for Varsity College Old Boys against College Rovers.

“I am as fresh as I can be and I am excited for this campaign,” he said.

The Sharks’ first assignment sees them travel to Kimberley to take on the Griquas on Saturday. GWK Park is often spoken of as a hard pitch and away teams lament travelling and playing in “The Big Hole”.

“They rely on the fact that we don’t like it there and we don’t deny that we prefer playing in Durban. They really want to use that to their advantage to do well and they want to make it as tough and difficult as possible,” said Botes.

“At times when we have done well there, we have been clinical in our approach as to where we play and how we play.”

Botes is confident that the squad will do well in the Northern Cape even though there are a number of new faces in the setup.

“There are four lines on a rugby field and it’s the beginning of a campaign where we are hoping to defend the Currie Cup.”

Botes believes that the absence of contracted Springboks in the competition is a blessing for players who put in the hard graft during the group stages of the competition.

“I’ve been in the position where I’ve played up until the semi-final and missed out on the final.

“Ultimately, going forward that’s how you grow individuals, expose them to semi-finals and not just pull them out every time it gets to the business end of the competition.”

• The Sharks take on Griquas at 3pm on Saturday at GWK Park in Kimberley.

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