Sithole takes centre stage

2014-10-15 00:00

ONE positive influence of Jake White’s tenure at the Sharks was shifting S’bura Sithole to centre and the former Blitsbok has had an excellent year because of it.

After plenty of time at outside centre in Super Rugby and Currie Cup, Sithole admits that he has been able to stamp his mark on the game.

“At the moment I’m most comfortable at centre because I am more involved there — more tackling and more carrying of the ball. Either way whether I’m at centre or wing it doesn’t make a difference, just as long as I am adding to the team,” Sithole said.

He has also formed a strong partnership with André Esterhuizen in the last couple of weeks. Together they are formidable on both attack and defence due to their physical and aggressive playing styles.

“It makes it a little bit easier, he can take all of the contact and I can do all the running,” Sithole joked.

“It’s great playing with him, he’s still a young player and still has quite a bit to learn, but he has done well this season. He has proved to everyone that he is a force to be reckoned with.”

Sithole and Esterhuizen were particularly impressive against the Lions two weeks ago. Sithole originally started on the wing, but shifted to centre when Paul Jordaan went off injured. They went on to dominate the game and will take confidence going into this weekend’s semi-final against the Lions.

“The Lions might seem like they are the complete team, but everyone is beatable. Province went on a long unbeaten run in last year’s Currie Cup and they lost when everyone thought they wouldn’t.”

“So whether you’re at the top or the bottom, you are always beatable, but we are not concentrating on them this weekend, we just want to do our best in order to win the game,” Sithole said.

The Sharks managed to beat the Lions in Durban a fortnight ago. The match was tight but it was the Lions’ ill-discipline that let them down in the end and Sithole believes they will not make that mistake again.

“I think they will be more clinical compared to when they were down here. It’s crunch time now so there is no room for making mistakes. Going up there is going to be really hard — playing up in Joburg with their crowd.”

“Everything is on their side, but I don’t think that will make any difference to how we want to perform this weekend,” he said.

Despite coming off a win over Western Province this weekend, Sithole admits that the Sharks did not perform as planned.

“It was mixed bag — a little bit of good and bad. With the team they chose, I think the guys expected the game to be a little bit easier, but it shows that no matter who you play in the Currie Cup, it’s never an easy game.”

The Sharks will not slip into that mindset this weekend and Sithole said his team is upbeat.

“The mood in the camp is pretty good, everyone is keen and it’s knockout stages now so there are a bit of nerves which is always good. Besides that the guys are just looking forward to the weekend.”

The Sharks travel to Ellis Park to take on the Lions on Saturday. Kick-off is at 2.30 pm. Meanwhile Western Province host the Bulls in the second semi-final in Cape Town at 5 pm.

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