Fit-again Van Vuuren wary of ‘hungry’ Cheetahs

Sharks hooker Kerron van Vuuren says the Cheetahs’ desperation to prove themselves will make them dangerous opponents in Durban on Friday.

Fresh from their win over the Pumas in Nelspruit this past weekend, the Sharks are preparing to host the Cheetahs in what is bound to be a challenging encounter at Kings Park.

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The Cheetahs are coming off a bye, but have won both their opening games against the Pumas and Vodacom Bulls in Bloemfontein.

It is the Free Staters’ win over the Bulls, in particular, which should have the Sharks a bit wary, given that the Bulls handed the Sharks a 41-14 thrashing in their third-round match in Pretoria.

Speaking ahead of the game, Van Vuuren said that the Cheetahs’ ability to score tries from both their set pieces and counter-attacks means that the Sharks cannot afford to lack in any area on Friday evening.

‘They are hungry chaps,’ Van Vuuren said. ‘They want to prove themselves for getting kicked out of the PRO14, so they have got a lot of hunger. Desperation breeds good performances and makes guys get to different levels and play above themselves.

‘They are playing with a lot of energy. We have studied them this week and our boys are definitely going to be up for the game this Friday.

‘They are very much all-rounders. Their lineouts, scrums and counter-attacks are all evenly split in terms of where their tries originate from. So we are definitely going to have to be up in all facets of the game.

‘We are definitely going to have to be very focused and we can’t let one area of our game lack.’

Van Vuuren added that after missing the Sharks’ opening win over the Lions through a ‘freak injury’, he is starting to feel back to his best.

‘It took me by surprise because it was my first injury. So, it was quite a bit of a mental knock. Coming out lockdown, I didn’t have the opportunity to lift heavy weights at home and when we came back into training, we were doing a bit of strength testing in the gym and it was just a freak accident.

‘It was a bit of a setback. Luckily, I had great care, rehab and a good operation that was done. So my road to recovery was made a lot faster and I am good to go now.’

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Dylan Jack