Sharks taking Griquas seriously

2010-08-27 00:00

FORMER Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius, who has spent most of 2010 in rehabilitation, has been included in the Sharks team to face Griquas in the Currie Cup match at King’s Park tonight.

The talented but injury-prone Pretorius was contracted to the Western Force this season, but the 31-year-old suffered a devastating hamstring tear before he could play any Super 14 rugby.

He has been undergoing rehab in Durban in recent months and proved his fitness in a club game last weekend.

Sharks coach John Plumtree has named Pretorius on the bench tonight and he will provide cover for fullback Monty Dumond and flyhalf Pat Lambie.

Dumond will start at fullback in place of Louis Ludik, who was concussed last Saturday against Western Province and yesterday failed to come through a fitness test.

Plumtree named his team yesterday and has kept changes to a minimum.

Centre Andries Strauss, who also left the field during the Province game, was passed fit.

Plumtree said he is delighted the pack shows little change, with only Springbok number eight Ryan Kankowski dropping out.

Regular Sharks flank Jacques Botes returns to the starting line-up and Keegan Daniel shifts to number eight in place of Kankowski

Plumtree said team selection is about rewarding players who perform well and not tinkering with a winning formula.

“It’s not really about peaking at the end of the season, but about improving where we have been poor while maintaining our strengths.

“We want to play our best rugby each weekend and there are certain things we are still not happy about in our game. We hope to see some improvement against Griquas.”

Plumtree said Griquas will arrive in a buoyant mood after almost toppling the Blue Bulls at Loftus.

“They have been consistent this season and they are in the top four on the log. We know what a tough game it is going to be.”

“They are certainly a side that feed off mistakes, so if we turn over possession, or we’re inaccurate with our kicking game, they’ll counter. They have Riaan Viljoen, Bjorn Basson and Sarel Pretorius, who are all masters at moving the ball into space, so we have to be very sharp.”

But Plumtree knows that he has the backs and loose forwards to stretch the Griqua defence if the Sharks win quick ball from the breakdown.

Griquas coach Dawie Theron has been buoyed by their Loftus display when his team came within captain Naas Olivier’s easy missed conversion of beating the champion Blue Bulls.

“We scrummed very well on that day and we were good on the ground. We will travel to Durban full of confidence,” he said.

The log-leading Sharks’ only loss in the first round was to Griquas (34-40) in Kimberley and they have come some way since that disastrous day. Fit, confident, well-coached and playing high tempo, positive rugby involving all the players across the field, they have seen off the Bulls, Lions, Free State and Western Province with some ease.

They also still have in their ranks Bismarck du Plessis and Beast Mtawariria, who really should both be with the Springboks, With flank Willem Alberts, they provide a hard edge up front, allowing the mobile Keegan Daniel and Jacques Botes to pick holes in the opposition.

If their minds are on the job, and they pick up where they left off on the second half against Western Province last week, the Sharks should see off the Griqua challenge with some ease.

Not that Plumtree will be telling them that, of course.

TEAMS

Sharks:

Monty Dumond, Odwa Ndungane, Stefan Terblanche (captain), Andries Strauss, Lwazi Mvovo, Patrick Lambie, Charl McLeod, Keegan Daniel, Willem Alberts, Jacques Botes, Alistair Hargreaves, Steven Sykes, Wiehahn Herbst, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: Craig Burden, Eugene van Staden, Anton Bresler, Michael Rhodes, Rory Kockott, Andre Pretorius, Riaan Swanepoel.

Griquas:

Riaan Viljoen, Richard Lawson, Wilmaure Louw, Matthew Roslee, Bjorn Basson, Naas Olivier (captain), Sarel Pretorius, Burger Schoeman, Davon Raubenheimer, Rohan Kitshoff, Cecil Kemp, Frikkie Spies, Jacobie Adriaanse, Ryno Barnes and Steph Roberts.

Replacements: Simon Westraadt, Jean Botha, Michael Passportis, Johan van Deventer, Marnus Hugo, Barry Geel and Rocco Jansen.

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan. Kick-off: 7 pm. No television coverage.

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