‘We have the belief’

2014-10-06 00:00

WITH a semi-final spot securely booked after their 26-23 Currie Cup win over the Lions on Friday night, the Sharks are turning their attention to the final hurdle before the play-offs.

The win was a fitting send-off for Sharks veteran flank Jacques Botes, who was playing his final game at home — unless the rugby gods have other ideas.

The Sharks need to beat Western Province this weekend and the Cheetahs need to beat the Lions for the Durban side to book a home semi-final but Sharks coach Brad Macleod-Henderson only has thoughts for their date with the Cape Town outfit this weekend.

The coach was reserved after Friday’s match but was happy with his side’s performance and said that they are starting to harbour ambitions of beating log leaders Province.

“There definitely is belief [to beat Province]. It’s going to take a huge effort. Province at home are always a difficult proposition but we know if we play to our full potential for 80 minutes, we stand a very good chance of winning,” Macleod-Henderson said.

There is truth in those words as the Sharks have made huge improvements in the last four weeks. Cutting out unforced errors and being accurate and disciplined on defence has been a cornerstone of their new-found form.

“I think the guys’ defence was fantastic. Their work ethic was great, they worked really hard. Our attack looked quite dangerous so it was great to watch,” the coach said.

The performance was even more impressive after losing centre Paul Jordaan in the first five minutes of the match. There were concerns that Jordaan may have even broken his hip and that will be confirmed later today.

His departure saw reserve flyhalf Fred Zeilinga move onto the wing and he became the man of the hour, kicking 21 points to help the Sharks edge out an ill-disciplined Lions side.

“It was one position we knew we were going to be in trouble with and it happened after five minutes but it shows the character of the guys. Looking at Fred, he’s a young guy but he’s got such a cool head. He played on the wing, kicked all his penalties and was never found out of position,” the coach said.

The reality is that the Sharks will be without Jordaan for the rest of the tournament but Andre Esterhuizen and S’bura Sithole were solid in the midfield and the Sharks are covered there. They also have a longer week to rest and prepare for the final round before the play-offs.

Although they are not going to Cape Town to secure a home semi, it will be in the back of their minds.

“Look, we also want to play winning rugby, we want to make sure we take our opportunities that are presented to us and we want make sure our defence is strong so we don’t make it easy for the opposition,” Macleod-Henderson said.

The Sharks take on Western Province in Cape Town in Saturday. The game starts at 5.05 pm.

Weekend results:

Griquas 45 — 25 Kings

Cheetahs 29 — 34 Western Province

Sharks 26 — 23 Lions

Pumas 6 — 37 Bulls

Currie Cup log

Team P W D L PD BPts Pts

WP 9 8 0 1 135 7 39

Lions 9 6 0 3 118 7 31

Sharks 9 6 1 2 57 3 29

Blue Bulls 9 5 0 4 2 3 23

Cheetahs 9 3 1 5 -5 7 21

Pumas 9 4 0 5 -31 3 19

Griquas 9 3 0 6 -78 4 16

Kings 9 0 0 9 -197 1 1

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