In the form of his life

2014-04-09 00:00

FIERCE competition amongst the loose-forwards in the country has brought out the best in Sharks flanker Marcel Coetzee, who has been having a storming season of late.

Coetzee has been one of the ever present players in Jake White’s squad this season, and his ability at the breakdown has often been reminiscent of All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw.

Players competing for a place in the green and gold number six jersey this year include Stormers’ Siya Kolisi, Deon Stegmann and the England-based Francois Louw.

The 22-year-old Port Natal High School old boy said the abundance of quality loosies in the country was a challenge that motivated him.

“The competition in South Africa is insane with all the quality loosies that we have. Even our extra loosies can fill any international team anywhere and it does challenge you because you have to be on top of your game every game of Super Rugby,” Coetzee told The Witness.

“The competition is so fierce, it’s actually healthy because it brings out the best in you.”

The Sharks are of course not short in the loose-forward department with the likes of Coetzee, Willem Alberts, Jean Deysel, Ryan Kankowski, Keegan Daniel, all Springboks, the immensely experienced Jacques Botes and the up-and-coming Tera Mtembu.

Coetzee, who has collected a number of man-of-the-match awards, was happy with his form, and like the modest professional, gave credit to his team-mates who have helped him this season.

“I’ve been very happy with my form and I have to give credit to my team-mates who have helped me a lot this year with the passion they’ve shown and I’ve been enjoying it.” said the Springbok.

Speaking of the Sharks’ loose trio combination, he felt it was growing and their aim was to improve game by game.

“Talking about Ryan and Willem, everyone has his role and they’re exceptional players to be playing with.”

Coetzee also rated the Lions’ loose trio of skipper Warren Whiteley, the shaggy haired Willie Britz and Jaco Kriel.

“I think they have good chemistry amongst themselves and you can see they’re playing very well together. Kriel’s got a very good work rate and good at the breakdown and Warren Whiteley is having a good season for the Lions, so I think we’re going to have our hands full this weekend,” he said about their upcoming trip to Johannesburg.

Although he was firmly focused on the Super Rugby campaign at this stage of the season, he said making the Springbok number six jersey his own was always his goal.

“It’s always a goal. You want to be in the green and gold. If you don’t want to, you don’t want to be in South Africa, so I think everyone’s chasing that dream. This is a critical year for that, but as I said, I’m focusing on Super Rugby and the success of the team at this stage.

In the backline, the Sharks will have Paul Jordaan available after outside-centre underwent a scope on his knee. Jordaan last played when the Lions visited King’s Park and his position has been filled with distinction by S’bura Sithole.

As reported by The Witness last week, the return of Jordaan, who can play both at inside and outside-centre, should provide fewer sleepless nights for White.

The coach mentioned last week that with Jordaan’s return, he was entertaining the thought of selecting Frans Steyn at flyhalf in the place of the injured Pat Lambie.

But, with Fred Zeilinga putting in a good performance at flyhalf against the Waratahs, and Sithole looking the part at outside-centre, the decision on who to drop from the starting line-up will not be an easy one to make for White.

Saturday’s game at Ellis Park against the Lions will kick off at 7.10 pm.


@KingBiyela on Twitter

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