Sharks 'defend to score points'

    2016-04-06 10:10

    Lloyd Burnard - Sport24

    Cape Town - This Saturday's Super Rugby clash between the Sharks and the Lions at Kings Park is set to be one of the more intriguing local derbies so far this season. 

    The sides are battling it out for top honours in the Africa Conference 2, and this match-up will not only see two local rivals lock horns but it will also put two starkly contrasting brands of rugby up against each other. 

    The differences in philosophy between Johan Ackermann and Gary Gold was boldly highlighted over the last two weekends when first the Sharks and then the Lions hosted the Crusaders. 

    Both came close and lost, but the approaches of the two South African sides could not have been more different. 

    The Sharks relied on their immense defence to keep the Crusaders out for most of the match and pounced on the mistakes that the New Zealanders made. 

    In the end, it wasn't enough and while the Sharks were completely outplayed, their defensive effort in that 19-14 loss was superb. 

    The Lions, a week later, threw everything at the Crusaders. 

    They had conceded a try within a minute, but bounced back almost immediately. 

    They also lost, but not before they had scored four tries and ran the Crusaders close to go down 43-37. 

    There is no doubt that, of the two matches, the Lions loss was the more entertaining. 

    But the truth is that the Sharks came closer to winning through their defensive resilience. 

    And, according to lock Stephan Lewies, more of the same can be expected on Friday.

    "They (Lions) look to play rugby from all over the park. We’re also looking to play rugby, but we want to play from the right parts of the field," Lewies said from Durban this week.

    "We don’t want to play from everywhere. We want to get into their half and apply pressure with our defence as shown.

    "A lot of people think it’s a fluke, but we train to defend to score points. It’s definitely two different teams playing against each other.

    "We’re not going to change for one team... we’re a process-driven team and we will stick to our processes that we’ve been working on throughout the season."

    Lewies believes that the Lions will pose a similar threat to the Crusaders. 

    "I think they play a similar game so we know what we’re getting. The Crusaders was good practice for us playing the Lions now," he said.

    "We have two teams that play a similar style and we have them in succession... we know what’s coming up.

    "They are the No 1 or No 2 side in the country and we have our name to replace after last year so the guys want to come and prove a point and show what we’re worth."

    Saturday's kick-off is at 17:05.

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