Looking for some revenge

2013-09-14 00:00

THE Sharks, beaten by Griquas at King’s Park in the opening round of the Currie Cup, are looking for a large helping of revenge in Kimberley this afternoon — and they will not mind if it is served hot or cold.

The Sharks, stunned 32-30 by Griquas in Durban, now face the bruising challenge of turning that result around on a hot, dry afternoon at a platteland venue where they are seldom at their best. By this evening, we should know whether the Sharks, under their new coaching regime, are making advances or have stalled.

After their slow, hesitant start against Griquas, there were signs of improvement as they beat the Golden Lions, the Free Staters and the Blue Bulls. (The SA Rugby Union, apparently also confused about just who is in charge at King’s Park, covered their bets by naming Brad Macleod-Henderson, Sean Everitt and Brendon Venter as coach of the month for August).

But the Sharks took a backward step last Saturday when their set piece failed dismally at Newlands and they were well beaten by Western Province. The coaches have revamped the tight five, changing four of them, and they need a strong showing up front if the pick-and-drive Griquas are to be kept on the backfoot.

“We were a bit underdone for the first game against Griquas,” says forward coach Macleod-Henderson. “They played well and dominated us. We have to be physically up for the challenge. It’s always tough going to Kimberley, but we are looking forward to the game.”

Backline coach Everitt said they had worked hard on their set piece, which had also creaked badly against Griquas in the first round.

“Griquas pride themselves on the way they protect their home ground and they play with passion. They are a team that never lie down and they keep coming at you.”

Griquas will also be lifted by their first-round win in Durban and the knowledge that the Sharks usually save their worst for Kimberley.

But Pote Human’s team have problems of their own after four successive losses, while their defence has leaked 16 tries in their past five outings.

Human says they are desperate to win.

“We can still avoid the promotion and relegation games [at the end of the season], if we beat the Sharks. If not, we will be in real trouble.

“The Sharks are going to be a handful, but the players have to put up their hands and prove their worth once and for all.”

A disturbing feature of the Sharks’ season has been their consistently slow and sluggish starts. If this habit continues, the Sharks will be in trouble. Griquas, when they have fire in their bellies and the vocal locals at their backs, can touch unexpected heights.

The Sharks have to start strongly today, impose themselves on the flow of the game and silence the home crowd. And that will only be possible if the forwards stand up and man up.

Teams:

Griquas: 15. PJ Vermeulen, 14. Nico Scheepers, 13. JP Nel, 12. Howard Mnisi, 11. Rocco Jansen, 10. Francois Brummer, 9. Marnus Hugo, 8. Carel Greeff, 7. Burger Schoeman, 6. Marnus Schoeman, 5. Victor Kruger, 4. Rory Arnold, 3. Nick Schonert, 2. Ryno Barnes (captain), 1. Steph Roberts. Replacements: 16. Matt Dobson, 17. Brummer Badenhorst, 18. Patrick O’Brien, 19. RJ Liebenberg, 20. Jacques Coetzee, 21. Du Randt Gerber, 22. Gouws Prinsloo

Sharks: 15. SP Marais, 14. Sizo Maseko, 13. Louis Ludik, 12. Tim Whitehead, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Butch James, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Jacques Botes (captain), 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Keegan Daniel, 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4. Edwin Hewitt, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Danie Mienie. Replacements: 16. Monde Hadebe, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Peet Marais, 19. Justin Downey, 20. Cobus Reinach, 21. Fred Zeilinga, 22. Jaco van Tonder.

Referee: Jaco Peyper.

Today’s fixtures (home team first):

Griquas vs Sharks, 3.00 pm; Blue Bulls vs WP 5.05 pm.

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