Sharks will need flair to unlock Bulls defence

2014-09-19 00:00

THE Sharks received a welcome boost with the return of Lwazi Mvovo this week, but have to go to Pretoria without the services of two of their big name forwards when they face the Bulls tomorrow afternoon.

Lock Stephan Lewies and prop Thomas du Toit have both been ruled out with injuries late this week and it might make things a little more difficult for the Sharks pack.

Du Toit is struggling with a toe injury and Lewies failed a fitness test after complaining of recurrent knee pain.

The Sharks team looks fairly similar to the side that met the Cheetahs last week. Paul Jordaan joins André Esterhuizen to form a new look midfield with S’bura Sithole and Mvovo on the wings and SP Marais is back to start at fullback.

After a solid performance last week, Lionel Cronje retains the flyhalf jersey. Cronje appears to offer a bit more than Fred Zeilinga on attack and the Sharks will certainly need that flair to unlock the Bulls defence.

In the pack, the loosies remain unchanged while JC Astle returns from injury in the nick of time to replace Lewies at lock while Lourens Adriaanse starts in Du Toit’s absence.

Despite the disruptions, Sharks coach Brad Macleod-Henderson is looking on the bright side and the return of Mvovo is a particular boost.

“It’s great to have Lwazi back, he’s with the Springboks and he’s been with us a couple of years and he is a senior player,” he said.

To fully use the likes of Mvovo and Sithole out wide, the Sharks will have to tame a very strong Bulls pack that have been rampant in their last two games.

“Everyone knows with the Bulls that it all starts upfront. But our lineout and scrums functioned well on the weekend so we’re happy with that and we’ll need to operate again this weekend,” he said.

The Bulls will be without their regular captain Deon Stegmann, who copped a one-week ban for elbowing a Kings player in the face. Nevertheless they have plenty of fire power up front.

The Sharks are also anticipating a strong kick-and-chase game from the Bulls. Their ability to strangle sides under pressure has been a strong part of the Bulls game.

“The Bulls have a big pack and a good kicking game. We are expecting a battle upfront and we know they’re probably going to kick the ball on us and try and put a lot of pressure on their kicks. If there are opportunities out wide, we’ll certainly be looking at taking them,” he said.

Sharks captain Tera Mtembu delivered a clear message this week.

His charges need to produce the goods or their efforts to defend their Currie Cup title might end in the next few weeks.

“I think the word we can use is desperate …

“It’s a must win game for us and then the other games will follow,” Mtembu said.

The Sharks face the Bulls at 5.05 pm in Pretoria.


P W D L PD BPts Pts

WP 6 5 0 1 92 4 24

Lions 6 4 0 2 69 4 20

Pumas 6 4 0 2 28 3 19

Sharks 6 3 1 2 14 2 16

FS 6 2 1 3 -6 4 14

Bulls 6 3 0 3 -27 2 14

Griquas 6 2 0 4 -36 3 11

Kings 6 0 0 6 -134 1 1.

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