Cup debut for Hay as Sharks change it up

2014-09-05 00:00

THE Sharks have made a number of changes for their clash with the Griquas in Durban tomorrow afternoon.

Coach Brad Macleod-Henderson has chosen to make six changes to the team who went down to the Pumas last weekend, with Jaco van Tonder, Heimar Williams and Wiehan Hay getting their first starts of the season.

It will be a Currie Cup debut for young lock Hay who has come through the Sharks age-group system.

The week has been filled with talk of rectifying errors but Macleod-Henderson has narrowed down two areas of concern that the Sharks will be focusing on.

“Our defence and our set-piece didn’t function like we would have liked them to,” he said.

Despite their first loss and concerns in those areas, the coach said his side have enjoyed a productive and upbeat week.

“We are very confident; there has been nice energy during the week. Some guys are going to get their first start for the Sharks so that’s always a special occasion for them and there is an element of continuity as well,” he said.

Continuity is especially important as combinations develop. The forward pack welcomes back prop Thomas du Toit to hopefully provide some stability in the front row. Meanwhile Macleod-Henderson has the same loose trio that took on the Griquas in round one.

The backline changes for the first time since the competition started, as Tonderai Chavhanga and SP Marais take a back seat this week. Chavhanga is resting a niggling knee while Marais gets a well-earned break after a lengthy season spanning from Super Rugby duty.

Van Tonder gets his first start, replacing Marais, after spending a few weeks on a speed training programme. Tim Swiel also moves onto the Sharks bench after a number of weeks with the Sharks U21s.

Considering the changes, the Sharks are still banking on producing an all round performance and Captain Tera Mtembu believes his fellow forwards need to step up to the plate this weekend.

“The Griquas are a quality side and they have been improving week in and week out so we definitely need to play well this weekend.

“They’ve always got a big forward pack so they’re gonna look to try and beat us there. They have a few star players like Marnus Schoemann so we are going to need to defend well.”

Kick-off is at 5.05 pm at King’s Park on Saturday.

Sharks team: (15-1): Jaco van Tonder, Odwa Ndungane, Paul Jordaan, Heimar Williams, S’bura Sithole, Fred Zeilinga, Conrad Hoffmann, Tera Mtembu, Etienne Oosthuizen, Jacques Botes, Stephan Lewies, Wiehan Hay, Lourens Adriaanse, Kyle Cooper, Thomas du Toit.

Replacements: Monde Hadebe, Matt Stevens, Marco Wentzel, Johan Meyer, Cameron Wright, Lionel Cronje, Tim Swiel.

Griquas team (15-1): Gouws Prinsloo, Ederies Arendse, Jonathan Francke, Doppies la Grange, PJ Vermeulen, Francois Brummer (C), Tian Meyer, Ruaan Lerm, Carel Greeff, Marnus Schoeman, Jaco Nepgen, Hilton Lobberts, Ewald van der Westhuizen, Martin Bezuidenhout, Steph Roberts.

Replacements: Ryno Barnes, Maks van Dyk, Hugo Kloppers, Burger Schoeman, RJ Liebenberg, Abraham Griesel, Dean Grant.

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