Vodacom Super Rugby
Sharks 'can do some damage'
Cape Town - The Sharks’ last visit to Cape Town, 10 months ago, is one they probably would like to forget after the Stormers crushed the three-time Super Rugby finalists by 32-12, scoring four tries to nil in the process.
Even worse for the KwaZulu-Natalians is that they didn’t cross the Stormers’ tryline once last year (they lost the Durban fixture by 6-16).
The victory at Newlands was the Capetonians’ second biggest victory ever over The Sharks at this level (the biggest was by 40-18 in 2003). After starting the season with a defeat last week in Pretoria, improvement will be a very important factor for John Plumtree and his side on Saturday.
“We have to make sure we are accurate at set piece and then we can build some pressure. Defences are pretty much all the same, some are a little bit better than others, but at the end of the day, if we get quick ball from rucks, with the backs that we’ve got, we know we can do some damage,” said Plumtree.
Plumtree said the Sharks’ lineout was problematic against the Bulls last weekend (they managed to win only 55% on their own throw). This week they are up against probably the tallest lock-pairing in Super Rugby - Andries Bekker at 2.08m and Eben Etzebeth at 2.03m.
The Sharks’ locks are Steven Sykes (1.98m) and the former Stormer Ross Skeate (2.01m).
Bekker is the tallest player in the history of Super Rugby, while only two Aussies and a Kiwi - Greg Peterson (Waratahs), Phoenix Battye (Force) and Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), all at 2.04m - are taller than Etzebeth. The Waratahs’ Sitaleki Timani and Dan Vickerman, as well as Van Humphries of the Reds, are as tall as the young Stormers lock.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee realises their first South African derby of 2012 will be a big one, but they go into the game with a fair bit of confidence, even though they’ve lost their captain, Springbok hard man Schalk Burger, to injury.
“The players understand where we are and what we still need to do. As a group we are tight and that is important. The Sharks game is a massive derby, they always bring everything they got and we looking forward to a physical challenge,” said Coetzee.Teams:
15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nick Koster, 7 Duane Vermeulen, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Louis Schrueder, 21 Peter Grant, 22 Gerhard van den HeeverSharks:
15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Louis Ludik, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Frederic Michalak, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Ross Skeate, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Dale Chadwick
Substitutes: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Jannie du Plessis, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Lubabalo Mtembu, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Marius Joubert, 22 Paul Jordaan