Chance to impress for Hadebe

2015-08-27 06:00

MONDE Hadebe, the Sharks’ 24-year-old hooker who has played much of his rugby in the shadow of Bismarck du Plessis and Kyle Cooper, is relishing the challenge of an extended run in the Currie Cup competition.

With Du Plessis away with the Springbok World Cup squad — and then leaving Durban to play club rugby in France at the end of the year — and Cooper on the injury list, the door has opened for Hadebe. He will start his third game in a row for the Sharks against the Golden Lions at King’s Park on Saturday evening.

A product of Westville High, the Durban-born Hadebe was capped for SA U20 in 2010 and made his Sharks debut in 2011. But, with strong competition for the hooking berth in the senior team, his opportunities have been limited to Vodacom Cup rugby and largely playing off the bench for the Sharks in the Currie Cup.

“There has been a lot of hard work in recent seasons and I have been looking forward to having this chance. I want to make the most of it,” he said.

The Sharks scrum will face a stern test against a strong Lions pack but Hadebe is looking forward to the challenge.

“The Lions scrum is a big threat. They have not lost any players to the Springboks so they have been kept together like one big happy family. But that is exciting for us. We have been working hard and have tweaked some things. This provides us with an opportunity to make a statement.”

Hadebe said that there had been too many defensive errors by the Sharks in their bruising win over the EP Kings at the weekend.

“But what is good is that those errors can be fixed. There have been a lot of changes in the team [since Super Rugby] and adjustments in defence but we are working on getting better.”

The Sharks hooker said it was an exciting time for the many youngsters in the Sharks squad. “I still consider myself a youngster and we are all enjoying the challenge of growing as a team. We want to improve each week so that winning becomes a habit.”

The Sharks, under Gary Gold, are pursuing a youth policy as they look to build a squad for next year’s Super Rugby competition.

“We have targeted a young team for the Currie Cup,” said Gold, “and they are going to make the errors.”

Gold said he was forgiving of mistakes as long as the players played with effort and intensity.

“When we did look after the ball against the Kings, and played to our shape, we looked dangerous and there was good finishing. But we did make life difficult for ourselves with errors in our defensive system and we just cannot do that against the Lions on Saturday.”

Saturday’s game kicks off at 5.05pm

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