Sharks must keep play open in the final

2008-10-13 00:00

THE Sharks would have to break down the Blue Bulls’ structured play to win the Currie Cup final at King’s Park in Durban on October 25.

That is the view of Loffie Eloff, the Lions coach, who believes that the Sharks have the necessary X factor in their team to take the title if they play the right game against the Bulls.

“We troubled the Sharks at Ellis Park last month when our play was disciplined and structured. It was only late in the game, when we made mistakes, that the Sharks took charge.”

Currie Cup finals, said Eloff, are often boring games because there is so much at stake and teams play conservatively.

“The Bulls play the most structured game in South African rugby and that will be a problem for the Sharks if they are caught up in playing a similar game.

“My advice to John Plumtree [the Sharks coach] is to break up the game and make the play more open.

“The Sharks have awesome talent and are dangerous when they attack from turnover ball. They will have the edge if the game is more open and flowing.”

The Free State’s backline coach, Hawies Fourie, praised the Bulls’ defensive qualities.

Speaking after his side had lost the Loftus semi-final 31-19, Fourie said it had been difficult to break down the Bulls defence.

“They regroup very quickly,” he said.

“One doesn’t know where or how to attack them.”

Plumtree, speaking immediately after the Sharks had beaten the Lions and during the Loftus semi-final on Saturday evening, said that that it did not make any difference whom the Sharks met in the final.

“The Currie Cup final will always be tough. Both the Free Staters and Bulls have huge, physical packs. What does give the Bulls a bit of an edge are the Springboks [Fourie du Preez, Wynand Olivier and Bryan Habana] they have in their backline.”

Plumtree is concerned about maintaining the Sharks’ momentum for the next 10 days before the final.

“But it does give us a chance to regroup and one or two players need to get over knocks.”

One is captain and lock Johann Muller who took a knock to the knee on Saturday.

“It’s not serious and I’ll be fine by next week,” he said.

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