No rest for Sharks XV

2014-04-05 00:00

THE Sharks XV will head into today’s clash with the Boland Cavaliers in Ceres looking to maintain their 100% record in the Vodacom Cup.

Having already brushed aside the challenges from the SWD Eagles, Free State XV, Western Province and Border, Deon Kayser’s men find themselves in a comfortable position at the top of the log, but will have to continue churning out results with the men from Vrystaat breathing down their necks.

“Our challenge now is to keep trying to improve our game, to focus on ourselves,” Kayser was quoted by the Sharks’ website.

“There are three games left before the play-offs. This weekend’s game against Boland will be followed by the Simba XV and then Eastern Province, and our target is to finish the pool stages unbeaten,” said Kayser.

“I’m very happy with the form we’ve shown so far. We are growing each week and with each match we play. Every game is a new challenge — not only with the different opposition we face, but so too with what is happening in the senior team in terms of injury,” he said.

An injury to Pat Lambie in the Sharks’ Super Rugby game against the Bulls two weeks ago meant highly rated Fred Zeilinga had to make the step up to the senior team, and his place in the Vodacom Cup squad was taken by the equally impressive Tim Swiel.

With Sharks coach Jake White keen to keep his players match fit, those who have not seen much action in Super Rugby this term have been included in Kayser’s squad, such as centre Heimar Williams and Jaco van Tonder.

This afternoon’s game will also feature former Sharks skipper Keegan Daniel, who played his first Super Rugby game of the season last week against the Waratahs. With the Sharks not in action this week, and a four-game tour of Australasia coming up, it is important for White to have all of his troops battle ready.

Two-time Springbok Marco Wentzel also starts for the first time this season, having started on the bench in the previous games. Wentzel could also find himself on the plane down under as the Sharks are currently experiencing an injury crisis at lock with Pieter-Steph du Toit and Anton Bresler — who is getting married today.

Back to the Vodacom Cup, Boland have had a torrid season, winning just one of their four games, and find themselves second from bottom in the South Section ahead of the hapless Border.

But Kayser was cautious to not write them off completely.

“They can’t be taken lightly and we won’t be under-estimating them. They play well at times and have made it difficult for a lot of the opposition, and we simply cannot rest on our laurels. We have to play well if we want to beat them,” said the former Bok centre.

“We have another challenge in that the game is in Ceres, which is not familiar to our players, so there will be a mental shift we need to make. But we need to back ourselves, we have the potential to get the results if we play to our ability.”

The game in Ceres will start at 4 pm this afternoon.

SHARKS XV TEAM

15. Jaco van Tonder, 14. Sizo Maseko, 13. Quentin Crocker, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Tonderai Chavhanga, 10. Tim Swiel, 9. Hanco Venter, 8. Tera Mtembu, 7. Keegan Daniel, 6. Khaya Majola, 5. Marco Wentzel, 4. Peet Marais, 3. Danie Mienie, 2. Monde Hadebe (captain), 1. Sangoni Moxoli. Replacements: 16. Franco Marais, 17. Thomas du Toit, 18. Edwin Hewitt, 19. Johan Meyer, 20. Shannon Rick, 21. Sean Robinson, 22. Alcino Izaacs.

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