Pumas will be no pushovers for Sharks

2014-08-26 00:00

THE Sharks have come out of their first three Currie Cup games with wins but face a tough challenge with a short week to prepare for their upcoming clash with the Pumas this Friday.

Sharks coach Brad Macleod-Henderson admitted that fewer days to prepare for their second meeting with the Pumas does shake up their normal preparations.

“We’ve got a six-day turnaround now and we have to travel so obviously it minimises the time you have to prepare during the week. We just need to make sure we use that time as efficiently as possible,” Macleod-Henderson said.

Despite a close finish in their win over the Cheetahs on Saturday night, the coach said that every week has been a challenge and the Sharks have taken nothing away from any of their opposition.

“Every week has been a big test. The first week we were away at Kimberley, the next week we played the Pumas at home and playing a Super 15 franchise at home was tough. Now we’re going away again so all the weeks are tough,” the coach said.

The Sharks will be mindful of areas where they struggled on Saturday. A bit too much kicking was something that the team will be looking to improve on.

“There’s always a time to kick and a time to play. We’ll have a good look at the video and I think there will be times where we could have kicked and we ran it and times where we could have ran it and when we kicked. It’s just trying to get that balance right, it will take time,” Macleod-Henderson said on Saturday night.

The coach can take a few positives out of Saturday’s win, especially flank Francois Kleinhans’s performance. He got his first start, played the full game and was competitive at the breakdown. Scrumhalf Conrad Hoffmann also got on the field for his first appearance in this year’s competition and looked like he was working off a bit rust.

The new look Currie Cup sees the eight teams split in two groups with teams in either group playing each other twice. That means the Sharks face the Pumas, Griquas and Free State again before taking on the other four provinces.

Macleod-Henderson believes that the new system has advantages and disadvantages.

“I think it’s a bit of both, obviously you know your opposition better and then they know you better. We need to improve on Saturday’s performance but we’re not really worried about week five or six, we’re just really worried about the Pumas on Friday night and that’s where all our attention will go this week,” he said.

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