Sharks 'learning and growing'
Brad Macleod-Henderson (Gallo Images)
Durban - Sharks forwards coach, Brad Macleod-Henderson says that their Currie Cup season has been about introducing and embracing new structures and roles, embracing changes and looking for steady progress.Sharks website editor, Michael Marnewick reports
that over the course of the competition, the simple idea is to get better and stronger as the team progress towards the climax – the Currie Cup final.
"We’ve learnt a lot, grown as a team and scored some great tries along the way," said Macleod-Henderson.
"We’ve had some highs and lows and now that we’re at the halfway mark of the completion, the objective is to kick-on and keep on improving, and finish strong.
"We obviously weren’t happy with the performance or result against Province, but there are some positives we can take out of last Saturday’s game, although it generally wasn’t a good game for us."
As the Sharks prepare for this Saturday’s match against Griquas, they will have to do so without Marco Wentzel
who is out with a shoulder dislocation while Rayno Gerber
, Odwa Ndungane
and S’bura Sithole are all either doubtful or definitely not available.
Tera Mtembu and Brynard Stander
have both returned to full fitness and are also available. Jean Deysel
has a bruised thigh but the medical staff are confident he will be ready for this Saturday.
With Wentzel out, the return of Pieter-Steph du Toit to full fitness could not have come at a better time.
"Pieter-Steph is a phenomenal athlete, it’s fantastic to have him back and the injury to Marco has also obviously accelerated his return to the starting line-up.
"It will be a tough return for him up in Kimberley but he’s been training well and done a lot of hard work with his rehab, so we are looking forward to seeing him in action.
"It’s going to be a big, physical second row and we are going to need that on Saturday."Tim Whitehead
who returned from injury last week is likely to get another start this weekend.
"He’s an important player for us, he’s got a bit of X-factor, quick feet and crisp hands, so hopefully he can show that on Saturday," says Macleod-Henderson.
Against a physical side like Griquas, the set-piece will be a crucial area and he admits that they need to be at their best.
"Our scrum underperformed against Province, I don’t think we are working as much as a unit as we’d like to be.
"Province probably caught us off guard at a few scrums and that’s something we’re continuing to work hard on this week.
"Our scrum remains a work-in-progress, but I’m sure it will be better this Saturday."
At training this week, the Sharks enlisted the aid of Craig Joubert
to get some pointers ahead of this match, to see if they can ensure they aren’t on the wrong side of the referee.
"We’ve chatted to Craig about a few areas, the breakdown, offside lines, counter-rucking, just to get a better idea of what the referees are looking at when they’re on the field.
"So that will hopefully equip our players to make better decisions when they’re on the field."