Sharks to sharpen defence

Brad Macleod-Henderson says the Sharks will have to be defensively strong if they are to conquer the free-scoring Golden Lions.

Speaking before the team's departure to Johannesburg, Macleod-Henderson was clear about what was needed to send the Sharks into the Currie Cup final.

'Defensively we need to be strong against the Lions, who have scored the most tries [45] in the competition', he said.

Johan Ackermann's troops have not only scored the most tries. Jaco Kriel is the tournament's top individual try-scorer, while utility back Ruan Combrinck is third on the point-scorers list.

The nearest the Sharks come to matching Combrink's total is through flyhalf Fred Zeilinga, who has amassed 87 points so far this season (sixth highest), despite playing second fiddle to Lionel Cronjé for the majority of the campaign.

'Lionel Cronjé has really impressed during this Currie Cup and we have a great backup in Fred Zeilinga,' said the Sharks coach.

He also hinted that things might have been different (with regards to their log position) had they not drawn 30-30 with the Free State Cheetahs. 'Looking back now, we probably should have beaten the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, every game is a big one in the Currie Cup.'

Sharks skipper Tera Mthembu was just grateful for the opportunities he has been given and the possibility of leading his team in the final.

'I'm enjoying the leadership role and the extended game time I've got as captain. The opportunity to play in a final is exciting for us as a group, so the motivation is there.'

Photo: Sabelo Mngoma/BackpagePix

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Mariette Adams