Sharks target fast start
Grant Bashford (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Sharks assistant coach Grant Bashford has stressed the importance to get off to a solid start in the Currie Cup final against Western Province in Durban on Saturday.
Last year the Durbanites started poorly against the Lions and eventually got hammered 42-16. The previous year - when they beat WP 30-10 in the final - they were the one's starting with a bang when they built up a 17-3 lead early in the game.
"Through the years it's been proven that teams find it tough to come back in a final when they've been on the back foot early on," Bashford told the Beeld website
"Just look at what happened with us against the Lions. When they built up a lead in the first half we just couldn't catch up. We had to take risks which led too mistakes that gave them more chances to score points.
"Therefore it's of utmost importance to get a foothold in the final and start well. There's so much pressure in a final that once you're behind the pressure just mounts - and that's when you start making mistakes out of desperation to fight back."
The Sharks on Wednesday retained the same backline which started in the 20-3 semi-final win over the Blue Bulls last week, but brought back a few heavies to bolster their pack.
In the front row Springbok Tendai Mtawarira
starts at loosehead prop in place of Dale Chadwick, with Bok squad member Craig Burden replacing Kyle Cooper at hooker. Jannie du Plessis - cleared after suffering concussion against the Bulls - remains at tighthead.
In other changes up front, Willem Alberts
replaces Jean Deysel at flank, while Steven Sykes starts ahead of Jandre Marais at lock.Odwa Ndungane
also returns on the bench after an injury lay-off. Plumtree this time went for 4-3 forwards-backs split on the bench, which means prop Chadwick misses out altogether.
The final kicks off at 17:00.Teams:Sharks:
15. Louis Ludik 14. JP Pietersen
13. Paul Jordaan12. Tim Whitehead 11. Lwazi Mvovo
10. Patrick Lambie
9. Cobus Reinach 8. Keegan Daniel
(captain) 7. Willem Alberts
6. Marcell Coetzee
5. Anton Bresler 4. Steven Sykes 3. Jannie du Plessis 2. Craig Burden 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper 17. Wiehahn Herbst 18. Jandre Marais 19. Jean Deysel 20. Charl McLeod 21. Meyer Bosman
22. Odwa NdunganeWestern Province:
15. Gio Aplon, 14. Gerhard van den Heever, 13. Juan de Jongh, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Bryan Habana
, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Duane Vermeulen
, 7. Don Armand, 6. Deon Fourie (captain), 5. De Kock Steenkamp, 4. Eben Etzebeth
, 3. Frans Malherbe, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Deon Carstens
, 17. Brok Harris
, 18. Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19. Jebb Sinclair, 20. Louis Schreuder, 21. Marcel Brache, 22. Joe Pietersen
Sluys, Jebb Sinclair, Louis Schreuder, Marcel Brache, Joe Pietersen