Jean Deysel says the Sharks can’t be ‘off by an inch’ against the Hurricanes this Saturday, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
The Canes made a stuttering start to the season as they lost their opening two matches, but have since won six out of their last seven games to set their season back on course.
Their 50-17 demolition of the Lions at Ellis Park this past Saturday was undoubtedly the best performance of their season so far, and it would have sent a clear warning to a Sharks side that has just returned from a gruelling three-week tour to New Zealand.
One of the men who wore a broad smile as the Hurricanes overcame the Lions was former long-serving Sharks coach John Plumtree, who will be experiencing a homecoming of sorts as he spends this week back in Durban.
There’s no doubt his input will hold extra value as the Canes put their plans in place before Saturday’s clash at Kings Park, with the Sharks having undoubtedly taken note of the manner in which the Kiwis outsmarted and outplayed the Lions in Johannesburg.
Deysel said they knew the Hurricanes were the type of ruthless attacking side that would make the Sharks pay for any soft moments or lapses in concentration.
‘The Hurricanes are a brilliant side and they’ve found form at the right stage of the competition. We’re looking forward to a physical battle … But what we will take out of that game [against the Lions] is just not to drop your guard.
‘You only get so many opportunities [against a side like the Hurricanes] and if you don't take them you will get punished. If you are off by an inch, you will cop 50 points.’
However, the Sharks will take encouragement from the manner in which they managed to throw the high-flying Chiefs off their game last weekend, with their physical defence, kicking game and strong contesting at the breakdown denying the Chiefs freedom to attack with speed and space.
‘We have a plan for the Hurricanes,’ Deysel commented. ‘We will try and play a bit with the ball, but we also need to get our territory game spot on … The biggest thing is just to get our mindset and game plan right.’
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images