Wellington: Sharks aim to redeem their reputation after shock loss to Western Province

2009-09-04 00:00

THE Sharks are hoping to bounce back from defeat with an emphatic win over the combined Boland/Western Province team in their Currie Cup match in Wellington this afternoon.

The Sharks were knocked off the top of the Currie Cup log at the weekend, losing for the second time in the competition to new pacesetters Western Province. In the first round, their response to defeat was positive as they reeled off six successive wins and they now need to repeat that run of victories to nail down a home semi-final.

They will have their Springboks back for the last four games but today, and next weekend against the Blue Bulls in Pretoria, they will still be fielding a watered-down team.

Boland have even more pressing problems. In their last game, against the Leopards in Potchefstroom, they went down by 50 points, dropping to last place on the log, and they have also picked up a rash of injuries.

Fortunately, big brother next door (Western Province) has helped out, and earlier this week lent them four of their players for today’s game. Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl said yesterday that “it was done according to the regulations and I have been assured that all the borrowed players are on Province’s transfer list and they will have to see out the season with Boland now.’

This, of course, is all very cosy considering that the Sharks are Province’s biggest rivals and an improved Boland performance would help the Newlands-based team.

Assistant coach Grant Bashford, speaking after the team had arrived in Cape Town early yesterday, said the Sharks were unconcerned, adding that the sudden addition of outside players could prove a further disruption for the Boland team. And so it proved. Hours later one of them, flank Hilton Lobberts, was suddenly withdrawn from the Boland team because Province need back-up at lock for the Blue Bulls game at Newlands tomorrow.

The three Province players who will see action against the Sharks today are centre PJ Vermeulen, No 8 Zandré Jordaan and lock George Earl.

And one player who will be particularly keen to make an impression today is Argentinian flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez who tried but failed to make the expected impact against Province. Battling to settle into the Sharks’ playing style, and lying too deep on attack, he was unable to create any momentum for his outside backs. With another week to settle, and with a steady flow from his forwards and the quick-passing Charl McLeod, he should enjoy himself in what are expected to be dry conditions this afternoon.

The Sharks, both stirred and shaken by the Province defeat, should improve dramatically on their patchy form of last weekend and anything less than five log points would be a major surprise.

TEAMS

Boland — Llewellyn Adonis, Deon Scholtz, PJ Vermeulen, Hein Myburgh, Cornal Hendricks, Elgar Watts, Charles King, Zandre Jordaan, Carel Hoffman, Wendal Wehr, Rito Hlungwane, George Earl, Jane du Toit, Clemen Lewis (c), Janro van Niekerk.

Reserves: Harry Vermaas, Johan Roets, Nico Esterhuize, AN Other, Denzel Willemse, Ernie Kruger, Justin Peach.

Sharks — Stefan Terblanche (c), Chris Jordaan, Waylon Murray, Riaan Swanepoel, Lwazi Mvovo, Juan Hernandez, Charl McLeod, Keegan Daniel, Jean Deysel, Jacques Botes, Albert van den Berg, Steven Sykes, Patric Cilliers, Craig Burden, Deon Carstens.

Reserves: Skipper Badenhorst, Melusi Mthethwa, Alistair Hargreaves, Micheal Rhodes, Ross Cronje, Monty Dumond, Andries Strauss.

Kick-off: 3.00pm.

Referee: Peter Allen (Scotland).

No television coverage.

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