Sharks coach Sean Everitt says Wednesday’s match against the British & Irish Lions will be massive for halfback pair Jaden Hendrikse and Curwin Bosch after they were left out of the Springbok squad for the Test series. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
The Sharks take on the Lions at Ellis Park on Wednesday in the second match of their tour, with Everitt naming a strong lineup to stake a claim for victory over the elite composite team.
Commenting on his selection, Everitt was particularly excited about the inclusion of Bosch, saying the flyhalf’s game management will be key in their quest for an upset win over Warren Gatland’s men while enhancing his credentials for Springbok reselection.
“Curwin has led our team, our game management and our attack over the last 12 months and he has done it really well. The pressure will fall on him to direct the team. Generally, Curwin is a leader within his own right, although he isn’t the captain,” he said.
“For us, Curwin has just got to manage the game correctly. Game management in games like this is really important. We do know that the Lions won’t give you too much. So, it’s about exploiting the opportunities that we get. Most of those will come from Curwin. If Curwin executes well and puts his backs away well, there is no reason why, if there were any issues, he wouldn’t be called up to the Boks.”
Playing on Bosch’s inside will be 21-year-old Hendrikse, who has settled into one of the top-two scrumhalves at the Sharks alongside Sanele Nohamba. But with the latter away on Springbok duty, Hendrikse has made the No 9 jersey his own and Everitt hopes that against the Lions he delivers the type of performance to illustrate why he is so highly rated.
“It’s massive for him,” Everitt explained. “Two years ago, he was still a schoolboy. It’s an opportunity for him to put himself up against the best.
“Jaden has played really well for the Sharks over the last few weeks. He manages a game exceptionally well, he has a good kicking game, but he is also really physical. You see him cleaning out the breakdown, stealing the ball on the floor and he is also a good defender.
“So, it’s exciting for Jaden, just like it was for his brother. I don’t think there are many brothers who have played against the Lions in one series for different teams, but Jordan had a good game on Saturday and Jaden gets his turn this week.
“We also have some experienced guys in our midfield, Jeremy Ward and Marius Louw have been around. They will help Jaden, who is a young scrumhalf, in a game like this.”
Everitt added that this is a golden opportunity for the likes of Bosch and Hendrikse as well as several others to push for Springbok call-ups later in the year as the Test season progresses.
“I think these guys that are on the fringes of national selection have got something to prove. It’s an opportunity for them to put their hand up and if there are injuries or changes to the Springbok set-up, that they are ready and willing to take the opportunity if it’s granted to them. But that has to come from really good performances from those individuals.
“Saying that, we are not going out to play as individuals, we want to put in a good team effort.”