Mix of twinkle toes and brawn

2014-09-12 00:00

THE Sharks have delivered their final message before they travel to Bloemfontein later today to take on the Cheetahs in the sixth round of the Currie Cup.

Coach Brad Macleod-Henderson has made it clear that his charges must do the business against Free State tomorrow. “It’s a crucial game, after slipping up for the last two weeks we need to get back on track and go to Bloem and get a result,” he said.

Looking back at the last two weeks, where the Sharks lost to the Pumas and Griquas respectively, the coach believes there are certain areas where they need to sharpen up.

“We need to make sure that we don’t give them any soft points. When we create opportunities, we need to take them. Last time we played against the Cheetahs we maybe let their nine [Sarel Pretorius] in for quite an easy try so we need to keep an eye on him and obviously we want to make sure our set-piece functions,” he said.

The Sharks announced their team earlier this week and two youngsters centre André Esterhuizen and fullback Tim Swiel cracked the nod in the starting line up. Macleod-Henderson believes the two U20 players can offer plenty to the side.

“They’re both special players. Andre is a big strong guy and he can carry ball for us and Tim’s got a lot of pace and some nice twinkle toes so he can generate some magic out wide,” he said.

Sharks veteran wing Odwa Ndungane said his side are expecting the Cheetahs to stay true to their wide running game.

“We know what the Cheetahs bring. They play with a lot of width and they revolve much of their game around Sarel so we’ve prepared for that,” he said. “They’ve got a new back three and we know they are not big on kicking so we have to make sure our first line of chasing is on point. We must try and nullify the mistakes from past weeks,” he said.

Ndungane is happy with the mix of youth in the team and hopes they gel quickly. “We’ve got quite an exciting mix with Lionel Cronje, André and Tim. We’ve got a good balance of young and senior guys and I think it’s going to be an exciting challenge for us,” he said.

Macleod-Henderson emphasised the importance of a win as it would open up a bigger gap between the Sharks and the Cheetahs on the Currie Cup log.

“They’re right behind us on the table and if we win we open up a gap between ourselves and them,” the Coach said.

Kick-off is at 3 pm tomorrow at Bloemfontein Stadium, Free State.

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