Sharks expected to gallop to decisive victory

2010-10-01 00:00

ANYTHING less than a full house of five log points would be considered a disaster by the log-leading Sharks when they take on the Leopards in the penultimate round of the Currie Cup at King’s Park tonight.

The Sharks and second-placed Western Province, who meet in the last round in Cape Town next weekend, are vying for top spot on the log, which would secure home ground advantage in a potential Currie Cup final.

The Sharks currently hold a four-point lead over Province and they are expected to gallop to a decisive win over the Leopards tonight. This would leave Province having to beat the Blue Bulls at Loftus tomorrow to have any chance of overtaking the Sharks at the top in the final round.

Statistically, the Leopards are not in the race. They have lost 12 games on the trot and have conceded an average of six tries per outing. And that, of course, is the danger, that the Sharks will arrive expecting to run in tries from all angles and distances and will ignore the basics in the process.

Sharks coach John Plumtree has emphasised the importance of respecting the opposition and he has made changes that should keep the team focused.

“The Leopards have conceded many tries (73), but they have also often threatened on attack and scored 29 tries.”

He admitted that the bigger unions, like the Sharks, have the advantage in conditioning experts (like the home team’s Mark Steele and Jimmy Wright) and, with the new laws, they were able to stress the defences of the smaller teams who are not as well prepared.

Plumtree said the changes to the team — Springbok Andre Pretorius is in for Pat Lambie at flyhalf and Gerhard Mostert takes over from the injured Alistair Hargreaves at lock — will bring a new dynamic to the Sharks’ play.

“The danger is changing too much and this could lead to some confusion. But we won’t go away from our strengths.”

Plumtree has built the Sharks games on modern lines with the players producing a high energy, quick tempo approach.

If the tight forwards strut their stuff and lay the platform, then the King’s Park crowd should be treated to a feast of running rugby and a glut of tries.

Leopards’ coach Chaka Willemse has made a number of changes with Cecil Dumond replacing the injured Danie Dames at fullback, while wing Cornelius Rautenbach and centre Jovan Bowles switch places at outside three-quarter.

Among the forwards, Victor Joubert and Willem Koch start on the flanks, Edrich Linde is back at lock, while Barend van der Walt and Gavin Williamson start ahead of Johan Coetzee (thigh injury) and Marthinus van der Westhuizen.

It will be a massive upset if the Sharks do not win with a bonus point tonight and, if they pick up five log points, and no injuries, they will be able to sit back, relax and enjoy watching the Bulls and Province taking chunks out of one another in the battle at Loftus tomorrow.



15. Louis Ludik 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Andries Strauss, 12. Riaan Swanepoel, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Andre Pretorius 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Keegan Daniel (captain), 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Jacques Botes, Gerhard Mostert, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Craig Burden, .Eugene van Staden

Replacements: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Patric Cilliers, 18. Anton Bresler, 19. Michael Rhodes, 20. Rory Kockott, 21. Patrick Lambie, 22. Luzuko Vulindlu.


15. Cecil Dumond, 14. Cornelius Rautenbach, 13. Jovan Bowles, 12. Walter Venter, 11. Dumisani Matyeshana, 10. Clayton Durand, 9. Tiaan Dorfling, 8. Riaan Swanepoel/RW Kember, 7.. Willem Koch, 6. Victor Joubert, 5. Edrich Linde, 4. Brad Mockford, 3. Barend van der Walt, 2. Gavin Williamson, 1. Bennie Uys.

Replacements: 16. Marthinus van der Westhuizen, 17. Eric Coetzee, 18. Anthonie Gronum, 19. RW Kember/Riaan Swanepoel, 20. Divan Kotze, 21 Gharfoer Luckan, 22. Jan van Zyl.

Referee: Jaco Peyper.


Tonight: Sharks v Leopards (King’s Park, 7.10 pm — live on )

Tomorrow: Pumas v Griquas (Puma Stadium, 3 pm), Blue Bulls v Western Province (Loftus Versfeld, 3 pm), Free State Cheetahs v Lions (Free State Stadium, 5.05 pm)

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.