Sharks confident in youngsters

2011-07-11 18:58

Durban - The defending champion Sharks kick off their ABSA Currie Cup campaign against the Blue Bulls at Kings Park on Saturday, and with the Springboks not available for this year's tournament due to the World Cup, it could be a tough assignment for the Durbanites to successfully defend the coveted trophy.

However, despite losing 16 players to the Springboks, Sharks assistant coach Hugh-Reece Edwards is still confident of their chances in 2011, believing they have the youngsters to step up and make a name for themselves.

"If I'm right, we've lost about 16 players for our campaign, so it's a huge opportunity for a lot of youngsters," Reece-Edwards told Sharks website editor, Michael Marnewick.

"Last year, we had a lot of injured guys coming back from the Boks and playing, but this being a Rugby World Cup year, we are not going to have that. There are a lot of youngsters who've come in, and there's a lot of excitement, a lot of talent along with a few old heads, and we're round about 50-50 with that.

"So we're probably going to have a younger side than we have had before - not necessarily in years, but in heads in terms of experience - and that's exciting. And it's fantastic when you come to training and there are new faces. The older guys have a huge responsibility bringing the younger ones through and the younger ones have huge boots to fill of those who aren't here."

He adds that the weight of expectation hangs over The Sharks - as it does at the start of each campaign - but the challenge is one they have overcome in the past and there is no reason why they cannot do it again.

"There is a certain amount of pressure to perform, for everyone, but that's what this game is all about and that's what we aim for and strive for - how we want to defend this cup - and it all starts this weekend with one of the tougher challenges we could have. But right away, it also gives us an idea of exactly where we are and how the personnel we have can perform going forward.

"As a home game, it's vitally important to get a good result, we have to look at making our home ground a fortress and looking after our results at home."

The Sharks backline has not been too badly affected in terms of numbers missing to the Bok cause, and they boast players in Stefan Terblanche, Marius Joubert, Meyer Bosman, Louis Ludik and Frederic Michalak who all have plenty of experience. Certainly, they will have a role to play in guiding the younger players.

"They come with experience, and then there are guys like Mark Richards who has been hanging around for a while, Sbura Sithole and Paul Jordaan who have played with the SA Sevens; Heimar Williams has looked good and Ross Cronje is with us as well, so there are a lot of youngsters who have been waiting for the opportunity and we'd be stupid not to try to bring them in from time to time to see exactly what we do have, because straight after this, we're getting ready for the next campaign - there's no time really.

So we have to see what we have, where we're short, where we aren't. It's a nice mix, half the guys are old and experienced, the others are young and excited and it's great to coach a group like this."

Looking ahead to the challenge posed by this week's visitors, the Blue Bulls, Reece-Edwards explains that, "You always know what you're going to get with them, there are few surprises about them.

"They've changed their coach for the Currie Cup, Pine Pienaar has taken over, but whether they are going to change their structure completely… probably not. We know what to expect, but if anything, they might move the ball a little more, so we just have to be ready for it.


  • Martin - 2011-07-11 20:10

    Now the Real Local Natal surfer daggakoppie rugby talent will be exposed!!! Nothing left after your IMPORTED Springboks are gone!

      PB - 2011-07-11 21:42

      Its a professional sport dude! We are allowed to buy Hallo!!!

      Paddy - 2011-07-12 03:48

      Trap daai Bulletjies se snoete weer dat die snot spat SHARKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Paul - 2011-07-12 07:07

      listen to this gay guy

      Decoder - 2011-07-12 08:33

      @Martin - you are cool dude! Very mature comment there bud.

      Martin - 2011-07-12 09:09

      Paul, your comments have a distinctive fish smell to them! You're not a Fish head Shark supporter by any change? Now please take your fish breath to Durbs where people may care in what you're bubbling!

      Paul - 2011-07-12 09:20

      hey Martina did you see the netball is also on ...bud

      420 - 2011-07-12 09:36

      @Martin. The bulls are not exactly overflowing with players at the moment bud.. Good luck, but reckon everyone has a chance especially the Lions, Cheetahs Go Sharks!!

      Martin - 2011-07-12 12:13

      @Paul, honestly boet, you have to come up with better lines than that!!! Are you 9 years old and recently discovered the internet?

  • coolio_101 - 2011-07-11 20:29

    Sharks going nowhere slowly.....

      Bulldozer - 2011-07-11 21:16

      Going nowhere at all.....

      Palooza - 2011-07-11 23:37

      Just wait sunshines!!!

      Bulldozer - 2011-07-11 23:56

      Wait for what?

      Paul - 2011-07-12 07:09

      for the Sharks to kick everybodys ass again

      ChrisG - 2011-07-12 07:52

      Are we talking about the only SA team with something besides in the trophy cabinet?

  • WPBLIKSEM - 2011-07-12 07:40

    It's GONNA be TOUGH. But I fancy the SHARKS to win it by 3+. Go Sharks Go!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • jk - 2011-07-12 08:18

    goodluck anneleen...

      Anneleen - 2011-07-12 08:52

      @Baie dankie JK...SHARKS FEVER!!!!! ...en natuurlik vir jou, PROVINCE...jou lekker ding!!!!!

      jk - 2011-07-12 09:05

      jip, julle het n tough ene sat, en almal ken griekwas, so ons hou maar duime vas, wen asb net daai bulle

      Anneleen - 2011-07-12 09:11

      @jk...natuurlik gaan ek die PROVINCE wedstryde ook ernstig dophou...!

      jk - 2011-07-12 09:33

      jk weet anneleen, jk weet

      Martin - 2011-07-12 12:14

      Jinnetjie tog, sal julle asb julle vryery na n ander kletskamer neem? :)

  • wolverine - 2011-07-12 14:03

    van stormer----go sharks ,laat die bulle van die vloer afvreet!

      Carl Muller - 2011-07-12 16:45

      Hoe lank skryf jy dit nie, en elke keer eet jy jou woorde....

  • Carl Muller - 2011-07-12 16:45

    It is time the other Union also bring in some young blood that wants to play and not rest on their laurels like some of these old men.....

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