Sharks to ring the changes
Sean Everitt and Brad Macleod-Henderson (Gallo Images)
Durban - The Sharks will host the Free State Cheetahs at Kings Park on Saturday with some expected changes to the team that beat Griquas
in last weekend’s Currie Cup clash in Kimberley.
According to Sharks website editor, Michael Marnewick
, the Sharks will aim to keep to their rotation policy.
"Rotation this week is part of the plan," explained coach Sean Everitt.
"With Marcell Coetzee back (from the Springboks), we were able to give some of the loosies a rest, both Jean Deysel and Jacques Botes have carried a heavy workload, starting each game.
"So too has Louis Ludik amongst the backs; Heimar Williams played well in the beginning so we don’t mind rotating Louis with Heimar who will start at 12 and Tim Whitehead moves to 13.
"Then Tera Mtembu gets a deserved start on the flank while Jean Deysel takes a break, with Marcell coming in for Jacques Botes, he will play at 6 and Keegan Daniel will move to eighthman and take over the captaincy."
Odwa Ndungane is back in the side after missing three of the last four matches through injury and his experience will be invaluable.
"Odwa is now 100% fit and we’re extremely excited to have him back.
"He brings a lot of experience to the team and people look at him as a leader in the squad.
"So we’re looking for him to add a different dimension.
"Odwa started with us at fullback so it’s ideal to have three players suited to playing at the back.
"Lwazi has been really good under the high ball, especially against Griquas on the weekend; the back three will be exciting as well as bringing a lot of confidence to the team."
Everitt tried to explain that although their season has been a work in progress, that they have shown signs of promise.
"For us, what’s been disappointing is the fact that we’ve shown glimpses of what we’re capable of on attack, but unfortunately we haven’t had a lot of continuity and that might be due to a lack of tries we’ve scored early in the games and the poor starts we’ve had.
"We’ve played catch-up rugby in all six fixtures that just comes down to possibly a bit of nervousness early in the game.
"The penalties we conceded against Griquas in the first half, we can’t have that again if we want to have a good start.
"Also the unforced errors.
"In saying that, I thought our second half against Griquas was really good, the guys came together nicely.
"It’s not easy in a place like that to keep going.
"We’re very pleased with the way the boys fought back and controlled the second half of that game."
Right now, each result or upset sees the log positions change and with four pool matches in the tournament still to be played, every team has a mathematical chance of finishing first – or last.
"There have been a lot of close games, the Currie Cup as a whole has been very close," Everitt said.
"If you look at the log standings, even the guys in fifth and sixth have a shot.
"It’s a tight competition, I think also possibly due to the fact that there are quite a few inexperienced players in the tournament with the Springboks away and these youngsters are still finding their feet at this level."
Looking to Saturday’s game, he warns that their opponents are going to be very tough.
They’re pushing for a higher position on the log than their current third place and a win over the Sharks would certainly help them achieve those aims.
"Free State are a dangerous side and they’re also experienced.
"They know if they get one over us, they’ll be contenders for top spot as well, so it’s going to be a very competitive game.
"They are a Super Rugby team and did well in that competition and they have a few players returning from injury which will bolster their team and that experience will give them confidence.”