The Wright stuff for Sharks pack

2014-08-08 00:00

THE Sharks have named their team to face the Griquas in Kimberley tomorrow and have given young scrumhalf Cameron Wright his debut in the starting line-up.

Wright has been trusted to steer the Sharks from the base of the scrum after injuries to Stefan Ungerer and Conrad Hoffman.

The good news is that the Sharks retain much of their backline from Super Rugby. The centre pairing of Paul Jordaan and S’bura Sithole at 12 and 13 is one that head coach Brad Macleod-Henderson is particularly happy about.

“We’ve had one week to prepare for the Currie Cup so continuity was always a factor that we looked at. Keeping Paul and S’bura together, who were fantastic in Super Rugby, gives us a bit of continuity,” said Macleod-Henderson.

Retaining that group also gives the Sharks some license to have a go out wide.

“I wouldn’t say we’ll throw the ball around but obviously we want to use it wisely. When the opportunities are there we want to take them and make sure we are accurate in what we are doing.”

Before the Sharks can have a crack through their backs, their pack will have a lot of work to do up front. For that reason The Sharks have only named two reserve backs on the bench.

“We know it’s going to be a physical battle up there and by having five forwards on the bench it gives us an opportunity to bring some fresh legs on in the second half. We are bracing ourselves for a forward onslaught.”

Among the replacements is former England and British and Irish Lions prop Matt Stevens, who returns to the city of his birth.

Tera Mtembu will lead the side for the first time and the team have rallied around him. The captain said that the Sharks are looking to come out all guns blazing.

“We want to hit the ground running, look at our game and focus on what we want to achieve at the back end of the competition,” said Mtembu.

However he believes the battle up front will be tough considering the Sharks pack has changed significantly from Super Rugby.

“It’s about how quickly we adapt, the quickest team to adapt is the one that will get results and we will try to execute as much as we can and take it from there,” Mtembu said.

There were concerns earlier in the week, especially at lock but Macleod-Henderson is confident that his players will deliver.

“We are very fortunate, we’ve got Stephan Lewies who showed in Super Rugby what he can do and Marco Wentzel has a lot of experience so it’s an area we are very comfortable with,” the coach said.

“Our main thing is that we want to make a statement,” said Mtembu.

“We want to start off well, start the competition well and then everything will take care of itself at the back end of the tournament,” he said.

Kick-off is at 3 pm tomorrow.

Sharks team (15-1):

SP Marais, Odwa Ndungane, S’bura Sithole, Paul Jordaan, Tonderai Chavhanga, Fred Zeilinga, Cameron Wright, Tera Mtembu, Etienne Oosthuizen, Jacques Botes, Stephan Lewies, Marco Wentzel, Lourens Adriaanse, Kyle Cooper, Thomas du Toit.

Substitutes: Monde Hadebe, Dale Chadwick, Matt Stevens, JC Astle, Francois Kleinhans, Hanco Venter, Lionel Cronje.

Griquas team (15-1):

Nico Scheepers, Danie Dames, Jonathan Francke, Wayne Stevens, Rocco Jansen, Francois Brummer, Tian Meyer, Carel Greeff, Hilton Lobberts, Marnus Schoeman, Jaco Nepgen, Boela Serfontein, Maks van Dyk, Ryno Barnes, Steph Roberts.

Substitutes: Simon Westraadt, Ewald van der Westhuizen, Hugo Kloppers, RJ Liebenberg, Abrie Griesel, Marais Schmidt, Ederies Arendse.

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