‘Hendrikse on top of his game’

Sharks coach Sean Everitt has explained the decision to give Jaden Hendrikse a start in the Currie Cup final against the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria.

In the only change to the Sharks team from the side that beat Western Province at Newlands in the semi-finals, Hendrikse will start at scrumhalf, ahead of Sanele Nohamba, who has been named on the bench.

Nohamba started against Western Province, but struggled in the first half and was substituted at half time, with Hendrikse’s arrival coinciding with the Sharks upping the tempo and dominating the territory battle.

‘Jaden was supposed to start last weekend,’ Everitt explained. ‘Unfortunately, due to a stomach ailment, he wasn’t able to train for most of the week, so we decided to put him on the bench and give Sanele a run.

‘We feel that Jaden is on top of his game and Sanele will bring lots of energy off the bench.’

JAKE WHITE: Bulls must embrace the pressure of a final 

When asked about Hendrikse’s strengths, Everitt said the in-form former Junior Springbok manages the game really well and having played in the 2019 U20 Championship, has experience of handling the pressure of big games.

‘Jaden is a good decision-maker around the base of the scrum and he is a good defender. He has even turned over some balls at the breakdown. His main attribute is that he can manage a game. He has got a good box-kick and he really conducts the traffic well.

‘He deserves his start. He has shown some good form. He wasn’t the Junior Springbok Player of the Year a couple of years ago for nothing. So, he has a tremendous amount of talent and he has got the experience of playing in big games.’

Everitt added that the Sharks are going to have to watch their discipline against the Bulls, especially considering how the home side punished the Lions in the first semi-final.

‘As finals are, we have to look at discipline,’ Everitt said. ‘The Lions gave away 20 penalties against the Bulls in the semi-finals and suffered because of that. We also put ourselves under huge pressure last week, giving away 20 penalties to Western Province.

‘So, discipline will be key. As we know, the ball flies a lot further in Pretoria, so giving away penalties in the wrong areas of the field is going to cost us a three-pointer, or an opportunity for the opposition to maul, which is what the Bulls are really good at.

‘It also comes down to error rate.’

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Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

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Dylan Jack