Tricky tie for Sharks

2014-02-22 00:00

THE Sharks showed last week in their victory over the Bulls that they can play the type of rugby that was offered by the Pretoria side.

This week, they have the opportunity to show that they can counter the running game favoured by teams from New Zealand when they play the Hurricanes at King’s Park this afternoon.

Featuring players like Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett and former Southern Kings centre Hadleigh Parkes, the Sharks’ backs will have to be switched on for the full 80 minutes. But the same can be said for the Hurricanes as Jake White’s men showed against the Bulls last week that they are not shy to throw the ball around from time to time.

But having done their homework, White felt by concentrating on what they do, they should be good enough to get one over the Wellington-based team. White was also aware that the Hurricanes could come to the game with a completely different approach.

“I’m sure that with Mark Hammett and the history he has at the Crusaders, I’m sure that he would take the lessons he learnt there when he was a player … It’s their first game of the competition. It’s hard for us to assume that they’re going to run from everywhere.

“It’s hard to assume the things they’ve been working on for the last couple of seasons are the only things they’re going to be doing,” White said on Thursday.

“As much as we can predict what we think will happen, we have to be aware of the fact that they might actually come with a different plan.”

Once again, Frans Steyn will be the talisman for the Sharks as they look to maintain their winning start to the competition by getting one over the Hurricanes.

White said despite Steyn’s problem with injuries, he was still one of the best players in the world who could perform when it mattered.

“I really believe he’s one of the best players in the world. I don’t say that lightly. I know what he’s capable of and he’s had knee reconstruction and he’s come back. That [game against the Bulls] was the third rugby game he’s played in about eight months,” White said.

“Look at the try that Odwa [Ndungane] scored. It was a perfect kick into the corner. It was a perfect decision to be made … he looks inside him to Bismarck who passes him the ball and within two seconds it’s in Odwa’s hands, not into touch, not over his head, not a bounce before. It was straight into Odwa’s hands and it was a try.

“That just sums up what a guy can do on a rugby field. So the plan is simple. We have to manage Francois the whole year. We have to give him the best opportunity to make sure he plays as many games as he can.”

The Sharks have a bye next week, and a win will allow them to go into the next game — against the Lions on March 8 — with their tails up.

Today’s game at King’s Park will kick off at 5.05 pm and will be officiated by Australian Andrew Lees.

Sharks: 15. SP Marais, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Frans Steyn, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4. Anton Bresler, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1. Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Stephan Lewies, 20. Jean Deysel, 21. Charl McLeod, 22. Heimar Williams, 23. S’bura Sithole

Hurricanes: 15 Marty Banks, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Hadleigh Parks, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks. Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 John Schwalger, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Adam Hill, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Alapati Leiua, 23 James Marshall


Today: 8.35 am: Highlanders v Blues, Dunedin. 10.40 am: Brumbies v Reds, Canberra. 7.10 pm: Lions v Stormers, Ellis Park

Tomorrow: 7.05 am: Waratahs v Western Force, Sydney.

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