‘It’s a privilege to name same team twice in a row’

2014-02-21 00:00

DURBAN is set for a titanic battle up front when the Sharks take on the Hurricanes in tomorrow’s Super Rugby action at King’s Park.

Sharks coach Jake White went for exactly the same team when he named an unchanged matchday 23, keeping faith in the men that so convincingly beat the Bulls last week.

The Sharks, with 11 Springboks in the starting line-up and a further three on the bench, will come up against a Hurricanes side that starts with the same number of internationals — nine All Blacks and two Samoans — as they look to assert themselves at the top of the Super Rugby table.

An interesting battle will be in the front rows, with Canes coach Mark Hammett having gone for three All Blacks in Ben Franks, Dane Coles and Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen going toe-to-toe with the Sharks’ Springbok trio of Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira, Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis.

White described the opportunity to name the same team as a privilege.

“That’s the nature of this competition. It’s war of attrition, so it’s nice to be able to go into the second round with all our players fit and available,” White said in a press conference at King’s Park yesterday afternoon.

“There was no temptation to change. We have a bye next week, then a four-week block, then another bye. We want to try and get some consistency early on and get some momentum going into the next couple of rounds and continue with it,” he said.

Sharks captain Du Plessis said he was willing to keep his 100% winning record as captain intact against the Hurricanes.

“I loved it [captaincy]. It was nice to have the Durban crowd supporting us and we performed, and achieved what we wanted to achieve, which was to score four tries. I was very happy with that,” the Bok hooker told reporters yesterday.

Looking back to this time last year when he and a host of other players were struggling with injuries, the skipper said it was a pleasure to be able to select the same team twice in a row, adding they were looking to carry on learning from each other and to work on combinations.

All Blacks wing Cory Jane described King’s Park as one of his favourite stadiums as he spoke of making up for lost time.

The 31-year-old Jane, who missed the majority of last season through injury, was looking to come back with a bang and repay the team’s supporters who suffered last year.

“This year I want to play some good rugby and show that I can still play at a high level and go out there, and enjoy each game of Super Rugby, and having to come here to King’s Park in Durban, which happens to be one of my favourite grounds. I’ve never won here, but I enjoy playing here.

“The atmosphere is great and the stadium is unbelievable. I’m excited about this game.”

Jane relished the tough visit to the country, and felt the tour would bring them together as a unit, as they looked to improve on their finish from last year.

“It’s always hard to, first of all come and play in South Africa. But I think it’s good that we’ve come over here first. We did a couple of years ago and it really brings the team [together], because at the beginning of the season we’ve only got each other,” the All Black told The Witness.

“To come here is a big challenge, but a necessary one for us to grow as a unit. The Sharks played well over the weekend and got a bonus point, so we know it’s going to be a hard game, but the boys are looking forward to it,” he said.

Like so many have done in the week gone by, Jane noted how they were a different side to the Bulls, and how they would offer the Sharks a different kind of game.

“It’s hard to look at that game and see what the Sharks are going to do against us because the Bulls don’t run the ball. They kick the whole time, they set up in defensive positions to kick the ball, where we like to throw the ball around a bit more, and so do the Sharks,” he said.

“It’s going to be completely different to what was played last week. They’ll have to adjust as well. What we saw in that game is not necessarily going to happen come this weekend.”


Sharks: 15. SP Marais, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Frans Steyn, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10.Patrick Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4. Anton Bresler, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1.Tendai Mtawarira Replacements: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Stephan Lewies, 20.Jean Deysel, 21. Charl McLeod, 22. Heimar Williams, 23. S’bura Sithole

Hurricanes: 15. Marty Banks, 14. Cory Jane, 13. Conrad Smith (captain), 12. Hadleigh Parkes, 11. Julian Savea, 10. Beauden Barrett, 9, TJ Perenara, 8. Blade Thomson, 7. Jack Lam, 6. Faifili Levave, 5. Mark Abbott, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2. Dane Coles, 1. Ben Franks. Replacements: 16. Motu Matu’u, 17. Chris Eves, 18. John Schwalger, 19. Mark Reddish, 20. Adam Hill, 21. Chris Smylie, 22. Alapati Leiua, 23. James Marshall

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