Sharks ready for defence test

New Sharks recruit Willie le Roux says they are expecting to face another considerable defensive challenge against the Stormers this Saturday.

The Sharks managed to grind out a 19-10 win over the Jaguares last weekend, and while they kept the Argentinians scoreless in the second half, the Durban-based side would have been disappointed by their missed tackle count (20).

Nevertheless, there have been clear signs of improvement on defence this season, and Le Roux said this came down to a lot of hard work that had been put in on the training ground.

‘We call Tuesday training sessions “Test Match Tuesdays” because of all the tackling we have to do,’ he told ‘You have to back your defence on game day because everyone wants to get their hands on that turnover ball, that’s the best opportunity to attack from. Everyone has been working hard on defence ever since the pre-season, and our defence has gone pretty well in the first two games.’

Both the Sharks and Stormers have made unbeaten starts to this Super Rugby season, and Le Roux identified opposite number Cheslin Kolbe as one of the dangerous attacking threats the Sharks would need to keep in check at Newlands.

‘I rate Cheslin, he’s a great attacking player, and the Stormers have a few new, young players who just want to play, and will be told by the coaches to play what they see. I don’t expect they will go into their shells, they will want to express themselves. They will have real attacking threats out wide and we will have to be at our best defensively this weekend.’

However, Le Roux added that he wouldn’t be afraid to have a go himself on Saturday.

‘I think the coaches back me to try things or they wouldn’t have signed me. They leave it in my hands to play the ball where I see the space, within the structures of the game plan. But we also back our defence, and when there’s turnover ball, then it’s time to play. That’s what we like and everyone really switches on.’

Photo: Muzi Ntombela/Backpagepix

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