Currie Cup

Mtembu: Sharks starting to peak

2014-10-10 08:46
Tera Mtembu (Gallo Images)
Durban - As the Currie Cup campaign heads towards its climax in three weeks’ time, now is the time to be building a head of steam, enjoying positive results and growing as a team ahead of the knock-out rounds.

The Cell C Sharks started the season with three successive wins before dropping a couple of games, but they were always going to start from a low base, considering the loss of a pretty much an entire starting XV to the Springboks and overseas offers, reports Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick.

A new captain, a new team, a new head coach and a new style of rugby dictated by the playing talent available meant that there was virtually no continuity between the Super Rugby semi-final and the opening Currie Cup match.

Only three players who featured in the starting line-up of the semi-final against the Crusaders ran out against Griquas in the opening Currie Cup game.

Now enjoying continuity after having a young group at the start, captain Tera Mtembu explains: “I said at the beginning of the season, the quicker we adapt, the better we would play. We’ve come along nicely and we’re starting to peak. We haven’t played our best rugby just yet. Hopefully we play well and get a positive result this weekend and pick up extra momentum going forward for the semis.”

Looking back at the 26-23 win over the Lions at Kings Park last weekend, the captain added: “It was a big win for us, over a team second on the log. They’re a quality side, to get a result over them was awesome for us, and for getting momentum going forward.”

So what is the reason for the turning point in their campaign?

“It’s in our commitment and attitude,” Mtembu pointed out. “We want to play, we want to score tries, but it’s that discipline and playing in the right areas, and that attitude on our defence that we’re getting right.

“I must admit, at the beginning of the season our defence was a big worry for us. But we’ve done well in the last few games. There is still room for improvement and we’re looking forward to the weekend.”

The improvement in their error rate has also allowed the Sharks to find the form necessary to push for a home semi-final, something they were unable to contemplate before the run of four undefeated matches.

“We’ve come along nicely in the last three games. Our defensive and handling errors were high, but that has improved. And because a team like Western Province thrive on turnovers, our execution is going to be important on the weekend.”

The Sharks' clash against WP at Newlands kicks off at 17:05 on Saturday.


Western Province:

15. Dillyn Leyds, 14. EW Viljoen, 13. Pat Howard, 12. Michael van der Spuy, 11. Devon Williams, 10. Kurt Coleman, 9. Louis Schreuder, 8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Rohan Kitshoff, 5. Gerbrandt Grobler, 4. Jurie van Vuuren, 3. Brok Harris (captain), 2. Tiaan Liebenberg, 1. Oli Kebble

Substitutes: 16. Neil Rautenbach, 17. Justin Ackerman, 18. Gavin Annandale, 19. Anton van Zyl, 20. Patrick O’Brien, 21. Godlen Masimla, 22. Chevandre van Schoor


15. SP Marais, 14. Tonderai Chavhanga, 13. S’bura Sithole, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Lionel Cronje, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Tera Mtembu (captain), 7. Etienne Oosthuizen, 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Marco Wentzel, 4. Stephan Lewies, 3. Matt Stevens, 2. Monde Hadebe, 1. Thomas du Toit

Substitutes: 16. Franco Marais, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. JC Astle, 20. Khaya Majola, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Fred Zeilinga

Read more on:    sharks  |  currie cup  |  durban  |  rugby

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