Crunch time in Kimberley

2014-08-09 00:00

Sharks team (15-1):

SP Marais, Odwa Ndungane, S’bura Sithole, Paul Jordaan, Tonderai Chavhanga, Fred Zeilinga, Cameron Wright, Tera Mtembu (c), Etienne Oosthuizen, Jacques Botes, Stephan Lewies, Marco Wentzel, Lourens Adriaanse, Kyle Cooper, Thomas du Toit.

Substitutes: Monde Hadebe, Dale Chadwick, Matt Stevens, JC Astle, Francois Kleinhans, Hanco Venter, Lionel Cronje.

Griquas team (15-1):

Nico Scheepers, Danie Dames, Jonathan Francke, Wayne Stevens (c), Rocco Jansen, Francois Brummer, Tian Meyer, Carel Greeff, Hilton Lobberts, Marnus Schoeman, Jaco Nepgen, Boela Serfontein, Maks van Dyk, Ryno Barnes, Steph Roberts.

Substitutes: Simon Westraadt, Ewald van der Westhuizen, Hugo Kloppers, RJ Liebenberg, Abrie Griesel, Marais Schmidt, Ederies Arendse.


Both fullbacks are great runners in loose play and are safe under the high ball. Marais was reliable for the Sharks in Super Rugby, but is yet to fully exhibit the x-factor that saw him join the Sharks. Scheepers has played for the Cheetahs in Super Rugby and was impressive for the Blitsbokke in recent tournaments. GWK is a fast running pitch and both should have ample opportunity to express themselves.


Wright faces former Sharks and College Rovers scrumhalf Meyer. Both are relatively green at top-flight rugby but Meyer is definitely more settled. If the Griquas pack get their tails up, Meyer will have a good platform

to work from. Wright will no doubt be nervous,

but some experienced heads around him should

get him through his debut.


These two will be the battering rams for their sides. Oosthuizen plays in the unfamiliar position of flank but Sharks coach Brad Macleod-Henderson has faith in his high work rate and physicality, especially at the breakdown. Lobberts, a former Springbok, is a big unit and will look to get over the advantage line with some strong carries. The Sharks will have their hands full stopping him in his tracks.


Two contrasting hookers will have different roles in the game. Cooper is strong on the carry, but his work rate is his real forte. He was unfortunate to play second fiddle to Bok hardman Bismarck du Plessis in Super Rugby, but gets his chance to show his worth this season, as the Boks will not return in the latter stages of the competition. Barnes can focus on his game without the added responsibility of captaincy. He is a solid player and has

delivered year in and year out for Griquas.


Sithole has been outstanding for the Sharks this year. A move to 13 in Super Rugby saw the former Blitsbokke flyer join the Springbok squad in June. He is strong on defence and his pace makes him a potent attacking force out wide. Francke will have his hands full, but won’t be too stressed about the outside channels as the Griquas back three boast plenty of speed.

Despite the difficulty of facing the Griquas in their notorious backyard, The Sharks look the more experienced side. If the pack gets good go-forward ball, the Sharks’ settled backline could have a field day. Expect some flowing rugby when it opens up, but the first 30 minutes could be a battle of attrition as the forwards battle for domination.

Today’s other Currie Cup fixtures:

5.05 pm: Lions vs Bulls at Ellis Park, Johannesburg.

7.10 pm: Pumas vs Cheetahs at Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit.

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