Preview: Sharks vs WP
- 11 Oct 2013
Saturday's big Currie Cup encounter at Kings Park in Durban between the only two sides assured of their play-off berths should be another nail-biting affair.
The Sharks and WP are separated by a point, and although both teams have secured home semi-finals, there will be plenty at stake as the winners of this clash could host the final on 26 October.
The victors will strike a huge psychological blow as these sides could meet again in the final. Both teams know this and have bolstered their squads with their returning Springboks.
The Sharks have opted to throw five of their returning Boks straight into the mix with Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Marcell Coetzee all starting. A sixth Bok, Pat Lambie, is on the bench, while Willem Alberts was excluded through injury.
'We had them involved at the start of our campaign, we had them all at our preparation week and they've been part of our squad when the Springboks have had their byes,' said Sharks backline coach Sean Everitt. 'They know exactly what's going on. They've always been included and have attended a lot of our games and really been a part of our team. I don't see continuity being a problem at all.'
WP boss Allister Coetzee has brought in Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Duane Vermeulen and Juan de Jongh while Springbok skipper Jean de Villiers starts on the bench, after a heavy international workload.
'It is important for the players who have been playing in the Currie Cup up until now to understand the intensity and the accuracy that is required this weekend,' said Coetzee. 'We have spoken about Super Rugby intensity and it will be exactly that come this weekend.
'Knowing that you are in a semi-final, what better preparation can you ask for? Going to the Sharks to see where you are at before the knockout stages – we need that. This is really going to be a big match and we are going to be tested all over the field.'
Sharks – 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Heimar Williams, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (c), 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Peet Marais, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Stephan Lewies, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Patrick Lambie, 22 Louis Ludik.
Western Province – 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Deon Fourie (c), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Frans Malherbe, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Michael Rhodes, 19 Schalk Burger, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Jean de Villiers.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images
SA rugby must get mojo back
South African rugby is desperately in need of a good-news story, with the general perception of the game’s current state of affairs having dwindled to an undeniably low ebb, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Time against new Bok coach
The late appointment of the next Springbok coach will hamper preparations and planning ahead of an important season for the Test side, writes JON CARDINELLI.
Sanzar continues to confuse
The timing of Sanzar's proposal to change the bonus-point system as well as the proposal itself makes no rugby sense, writes JON CARDINELLI.