Stalwart Terblanche game for an 18th season

2011-10-12 00:00

SHARKS veteran Stefan Terblanche says he wants to stretch his first-class playing career into an 18th year next season.

The 36-year-old Terblanche, a former Springbok, made his provincial debut for Boland in 1994 and he is now in his 12th year with the Sharks, a first-choice selection — whether at wing, fullback or centre — while he also captained the team to the Currie Cup title last year.

Terblanche was omitted from John Plumtree’s starting line-up against the Leopards at the weekend, but he came on for the last quarter to become the first Sharks player to earn 100 caps in both the Currie Cup and Super Rugby competitions.

Terblanche, who is one of the fitter players in the Sharks squad, admitted after the game that “it is almost time to hand over to the younger guys”, but said yesterday he would like to continue playing next season.

“You have to make a decision sometime, but I would still like to be involved in some way next year.”

Terblanche said he was not sure whether he would be contracted by the Sharks next year.

“We will discuss that after the Currie Cup is over. I would still like to remain involved somewhere as a player, whether at the Sharks or elsewhere, but I will only look at it after the Currie Cup.

“I don’t want any distractions for myself, the team or coach leading into the next couple of weeks,” Terblanche said.

The Sharks veteran said there was an improvement against the Leopards at the weekend.

“It took us a while to get going and we put some good phases together. We were a little bit more organised, but we still need to work on not giving away penalties, especially in our own half.

“We need to work on our discipline, especially this weekend against a quality team like the Lions who will punish us if we make mistakes.”

Plumtree said yesterday that the Sharks have the advantage of playing in the last pool game in the Currie Cup on Saturday (at King’s Park).

The Sharks, in second place, have a one-point lead over Free State, who end their league season against Griquas in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

If the Free Staters, who have a superior points difference, win with a bonus point, the Sharks will have to pick up five points (a win with four tries) against the Lions to retain their second place and host the second semi-final.

“We will know exactly what we will have to do and that puts us in a good position. I’m really proud of the boys, the way they’ve hung tough all Currie Cup to get us into this position. It’s been hard work and we’re looking for a positive and passionate performance this weekend,” said Plumtree.

Plumtree said that the Sharks’ preparations would be “slightly disrupted by returning Boks”.

“We trained really well today and we will assess how the Springboks arrive home and how they’re feeling mentally and physically.”

The Sharks said there is a “very good chance of seeing some of our Boks back”.

“All year we’ve struggled upfront and, with no disrespect to the guys we’ve had, the opposition have had bigger men. Either this week or next [the semi-finals] things can change for us in that department, with some of our bigger forwards returning.

“We will go into games with lots more confidence knowing that we can carry some weight across the advantage line, and more confident that we won’t be out-muscled at the collisions and at set piece at times. This definitely helps our strategy, knowing we can compete on the gain-line with our ball-carriers as well as having big defenders.”

Saturday’s game against the Lions kicks off at 7.10 pm and the referee will be Quinton Immelman.

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