Sharks hope for 2008 surprise

2009-05-10 00:00

THE Sharks go into today’s season-opening Currie Cup clash against Western Province at Newlands as probable underdogs, thanks to the loss of six of their top players to the Springbok cause, the fact that they are playing away in potentially tough conditions, and Province’s splurge on new playing personnel for the domestic season.

Sharks captain Johann Muller agrees that they are a little under-staffed, but like last year, they were similarly disadvantaged and still managed to lay a platform to finish the season on a high.

“You can lose a lot of games in the Currie Cup and still be there at the end. I think it’s important for us to put ourselves in a position where we are in the top four at the end of the pool stages, that is the goal right now,” he said.

Last year, Coach John Plumtree took his band of inexperienced men and moulded them into a strong team with huge emphasis placed on playing for the jersey and for one another. Despite facing a similar situation, he will be looking for his men to do what the class of 2008 did.

Despite their rugby pedigree, Western Province have not been quite the opposition The Sharks have encountered in recent years when compared to previous decades. They have failed to make the play-offs of the Absa Currie Cup since 2006 when they were beaten semi-finalists and for a self-confessed results-driven side, have not met with expectations in recent years.

The Sharks: Stefan Terblanche, Odwa Ndungane, Andries Strauss, Riaan Swanepoel, Luzuko Vulindlu, Guy Cronje, Rory Kockott, Keegan Daniel, Jean Deysel, Jacques Botes, Johann Muller (Capt), Steven Sykes, Jannie du Plessis, Craig Burden, Deon Carstens.

Replacements: Skipper Badenhorst, Patric Cilliers, Albert van den Berg, Justin Downey / Ryan Kankowski, Charl McLeod, Monty Dumond, Chris Jordaan

Western Province: Joe Pietersen, Frikkie Welsh, Morgan Newman, Peter Grant, Sireli Naqelevuki, Willem de Waal, Ricky Januarie, Luke Watson (captain), Pieter Louw, Pieter Myburgh, Anton van Zyl, Chris Jack, Brok Harris, Tiaan Liebenberg, Wicus Blaauw.

Replacements: Hanyani Shimange, JD Moller, De Kock Steenkamp, Deon Fourie, Dewaldt Duvenage, Juan de Jongh, Tonderai Chavhanga.

Recent Currie Cup History:

2008 Sharks won 28-25 in Durban

2008 Sharks won 32-10 in Cape Town

2007 Sharks won 32-16 in Durban

2007 Sharks lost 22-19 in Cape Town

On TV

Kickoff: 5.05 pm - live on M-Net, M-Net-HD and SSpt 1 from 5 pm

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