Cape Town - The Sharks and Western Province go into this Saturday’s
Currie Cup clash at Kings Park in similar boats.
Both sides are three from five this season and hanging onto
their semi-final positions, but both sides are yet to perform at the level
expected of them by their ardent supporters.
But while the Sharks are yet to find their rhythm this
season, WP coach John Dobson has seen enough to know where they will be most
threatening on Saturday.
“They’ve got a massive kicking game. They play no rugby in
their own half. Literally, it’s one phase in their own half and the ball gets
kicked,” he said this week.
“They’ve got really good chase lines. We know that they pose
a threat with their little chips and dinks through. We know that Lionel Cronje
is a good player … if we let a guy like (centre, Andre) Esterhuizen get
momentum and then Lionel can play with a bit of space and make those little
kicks then we’re going to be under pressure.”
Dobson also drew a thoughtful comparison between this Sharks
side under Gary Gold and those of coaches past.
“It’s not a million miles from the Sharks team, in terms of
that approach, that won the Currie Cup under Brendan Venter in 2013 and that
Jake had,” said Dobson.
“It’s not the Sharks team of Plum’s era and Dick Muir’s era
of playing what’s in front of you. We know that they come with a very big
kicking game so we have to make some plans around that.
“Our feeling is that if they kick on us so much we know that
we won’t be able to have a crack straight up. But if we get through a phase or
two I think there are some opportunities for us.”
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05.