Sharks rotate players while Western Province opt for continuity

2013-09-06 00:00

WHILE the Sharks have often rotated their players during the first half of the Currie Cup season, their opponents at Newlands tomorrow night, Western Province, have opted for continuity.

Brendan Venter and his coaching staff at the Sharks have made five changes to the team that downed the Blue Bulls last weekend, but Province coach Allister Coet­zee believes that experience has also played a role in their selection.

“We have a different approach to selection and feel that we get a lot from having continuity,” said Coetzee.

“We see Butch James is going to play at flyhalf and Tim Whitehead is at inside centre. That is probably because the Sharks are looking for experience and physicality.

“They have a strong pack. I really rate their number six, number seven and number eight [Jean Deysel, Keegan Daniel and Jacques Botes]. They have two Springboks in their backrow and we know we will have our work cut out for us.”

Coetzee has recalled Louis Schreuder for Nic Groom at scrumhalf in the only change to the Western Province team that drew with the Lions at Ellis Park.

Meanwhile, Western Province hooker Tiaan Liebenberg has been cleared to play after missing practices on Tuesday and Wednesday because of back spasms.

A surprise visitor to the Western Province practice on Wednesday was former Springbok and current Brumbies coach Jake White. He spent time with the Western Province coaching staff of Coetzee, Robbie Fleck and Matthew Proudfoot at the practice.

The Currie Cup competition reaches the halfway stage this weekend. Only five points separate the first-placed Sharks and the fourth-placed Golden Lions on the log table, while Griquas and the Blue Bulls trail by a further three points at the foot of the table.

Tomorrow’s fixtures

Griquas vs Lions at 3 pm.

Bulls vs Free State at 5.05 pm.

Western Province vs Sharks at 7.10 pm.

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