Pumas will be no pussycats

2014-08-12 00:00

AFTER a successful first week in the Currie Cup, the Sharks are expecting a tough encounter against the Pumas this Friday night.

Sharks forwards coach Paul Anthony says that the mood in the camp is positive after the weekend’s win over a determined Griquas outfit.

“We’re undoubtedly very happy. I know people will say we were playing against 14 men, but I think that tightened them up a lot and they played a much tighter game which probably suits them because they have a really big pack of forwards,” said Anthony.

“But we fronted up against them and created opportunities on the outside. Paul Jordaan received a lot of ball which is a good indicator for us that we’re trying to go somewhere.”

Considering that Super Rugby only wrapped up a couple of weeks ago, a win at a notoriously difficult GWK Park in Kimberley was a great result for the Sharks, who had a new captain and number of debutants in their ranks.

“For a first game up, with a short turnaround time after Vodacom Super Rugby, we’re very, very happy,” he said.

The next call of duty is a crunch clash with the Pumas. The Sharks have home advantage but the visitors will be brimming with confidence following their win over the Cheetahs.

“It’s a short turnaround week for both us and the Pumas. They’ve earned the right to be in this competition and by beating the Cheetahs on the weekend, and they are a quality Cheetahs side, they’ve shown they are competing successfully at this level; they’ve proved capable of being here,” said Anthony.

The Sharks are under no illusion that the recently promoted side will be an easy task.

“I know Jimmy Stonehouse [Pumas coach] well, we’re personal friends, and his boys will always be up for it. They’ll come out firing, they always bring a lot of enthusiasm into their game and a desire to chase everything and as a coach, that’s exactly what you want, the rest you can mould. We’ll come up against that fantastic enthusiasm this weekend,” said Anthony.

Sharks fans can expect a very tough encounter.

“We have no illusions about the fact that it’s going to be an absolute cruncher and we are going to really man up for this one,” he added.

The Sharks came out of the Griquas clash relatively unscathed.

The only worry is that of lock Stephan Lewies, who had to leave the field on Saturday with “a knock”, gifting young JC Astle his Currie Cup debut in the process.

The Sharks coaching staff will keep their eyes on the lock during the week but the concerns are only precautionary.

Kick-off on Friday night is at 7.10 pm.

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