WP after juicier carrot

2010-10-09 00:00

WESTERN Province are chasing the juicier carrot, but the Sharks, without the pressure, will be the most dangerous of opponents in this evening’s final round Currie Cup game at Newlands.

Province have to win to finish second on the log and host a semi-final; the Sharks are sitting pretty, already through to a home play-off, but a win today will almost certainly mean it will be Province, again, rather than the champion Blue Bulls they will bump into at King’s Park next Saturday.

The mood of the opposing camps has shown in selection.

Sharks coach John Plumtree, with an eye on the semi-final, has made nine changes to his starting line-up today. A couple of key players are being rested, others (mostly returning Springboks) are provided with game time and fresh combinations are being given an airing.

Coach Allister Coezee has selected specifically for this game and he is hoping the combative Ricky Januarie at scrumhalf and the organisation of Jaque Fourie in midfield will bring a hard and competitive edge to the Western Province approach.

Coet­zee­ admitted he was looking to Januarie to give Province “something extra in a very physical game” and he wants Fourie, chosen in midfield ahead of Jean de Villiers, to bring organisation to the defence.

“We have chosen the best side for this match and with the Sharks’ style of play in mind,” he added.

Earlier this year, in the Super 14 and Currie Cup, the Sharks downed the Cape Town-based team by outmuscling them at forward, at the breakdown and by punching holes around the fringes and in midfield with their big, ball-carrying forwards.

The Sharks will miss burly flank Willem Alberts tonight, but they are hoping that this will be offset by the return of the hard-driving Bismarck du Plessis and Beast Mtawarira.

Province, with six Springboks in their backline, are clearly a potent attacking force though flyhalf Willem de Waal, more of a kicker than a runner, is not the most skilful in harnessing those talents.

And the Sharks will also be pleased that they were not presented with the world-class pairing of Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie in midfield when Coetzee rejigged his backline.

Still, Province possess a full hand of dangerous runners (Gio Aplon, Brian Habana, Juan de Jongh, Fourie and De Villiers) and the Sharks will be looking to their strong scrum to squeeze the life out of the home pack and then keep their attackers on the backfoot.

Discipline, with De Waal’s left boot in mind, and resolute defence are key to the Sharks’ chances of winning.

Rory Kockott, now obviously the Sharks’ number two scrumhalf, is given his chance to make a point today. He remains a feisty competitor and his battle with Januarie around the fringes will be both fierce and entertaining.

But the Sharks’ spotlight will centre on veteran Springbok Andre Pretorius who is very much on trial this evening and is vying with the young Pat Lambie for the flyhalf berth ahead of the Currie Cup play-offs.

Province, with a massive incentive and a capacity Newlands crowd demanding victory, have the motivation and desire to win.

But the Sharks, with a threatening mix of a strong tight five, a lively, high tempo approach and without fear of failure, will enjoy giving the home team and their supporters a bumpy ride.



Sharks: 15. Patrick Lambie, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Stefan Terblanche (captain), 12. Andries Strauss, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Andre Pretorius, 9. Rory Kockott, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Alistair Hargreaves, 4. Gerhard Mostert, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Eugene van Staden, 18. Steven Sykes, 19. Keegan Daniel, 20. Charl McLeod, 21. Adrian Jacobs, 22. Louis Ludik


Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Jean de Villiers, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Anton van Zyl (captain), 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 JD Moller.

Replacements: 16 Hanyani Shimange, 17 JC Kritzinger, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Pieter Louw, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Lionel Cronje, 22 Conrad Jantjes.

Referee: Mark Lawrence.



Today: Griquas v Blue Bulls, Kimberley, 3 pm – M-Net, SuperSport 1

Western Province v Sharks, Newlands Stadium, 5.05 pm – M-Net, M-Net HD, SuperSport 1

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