Sharks aim to spread it

2014-08-28 00:00

THE Sharks have made only one change for Friday night’s upcoming game against the Pumas in Nelspruit.

Conrad Hoffmann is getting another chance to prove his worth after coming off the bench last weekend.

The scrumhalf is the only change in the team who beat the Cheetahs last weekend.

The Sharks face a tough ask going to Nelspruit, especially considering that the Pumas have not lost at home all year.

However, assistant coach Paul Anthony is excited about the team’s new approach in the Currie Cup, having lost their big ball carriers from the Super 15.

“What we’re trying to do is play a more expansive game. We have to get away from the fact that we can’t just carry it straight in directly. I know it did come to the fore last weekend, but I think that’s simply because we are trying something new,” Anthony said.

Contrary to the relatively new look side, the assistant coach was happy with the way his forwards have gone in the tournament which has been particularly bruising.

“The key this week was that we had a really good set piece, we scrummed really well and got a couple of penalties out of them (Cheetahs). We got 100% in the lineouts and turned over a few so we are really happy with the set piece,” he said.

That shows in the selection of the pack, which is unchanged. The side were tested by the Cheetahs and the Sharks will be looking for a much improved performance. Anthony believes the team are growing and their excitement has been the only thing that has worked against them.

“I think it’s a lack of experience, a new sort of outlook to the way we play and an over-exuberance, which is great to have because they are fantastic to work with. They train flat-out, they’re gee’d-up all the time and if we temper that I think we can play some outstanding rugby,” Anthony said. Despite that, the side are under no illusion that the Pumas will be an easy hurdle.

“They are not going to change that much and neither are we. You do know what you are going to get from them and you have to counter that. They bring huge physicality to the game and are well drilled. They are hard on defence and aggressive off the line and we have to match that physicality,” he said.

The week is also difficult considering a short turnaround. Anthony believes it will be tough with less time to prepare but he believes that the Sharks are hungry to deliver a much improved performance.

The Sharks are without Marco Wentzel, who is enjoying a pre-planned trip away. Luckily JC Astle is fit and comes into the starting line up.


SP Marais, Odwa Ndungane, S’bura Sithole, Paul Jordaan, Tonderai Chavhanga, Fred Zeilinga, Conrad Hoffmann, Tera Mtembu (C), Francois Kleinhans, Jacques Botes, JC Astle, Etienne Oosthuizen, Matt Stevens, Kyle Cooper, Dale Chadwick. Replacements: Franco Marais, Lourens Adriaanse, Stephan Lewies, Johan Meyer, Cameron Wright, Heimar Williams, Lionel Cronje.

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