Van Heerden: We’ll need to nullify WP’s strengths

Sharks lock Ruben van Heerden says his side will focus on nullifying the Western Province pack when the two teams meet at Newlands for the second Currie Cup semi-final this Saturday.

Just two log points separated the Sharks and Western Province after the completion of the Currie Cup round-robin stage, which was disrupted by Covid-19 enforced cancellations.

Yet, WP ultimately earned a home semi-final spot through some powerful performances headlined largely by the performances of a powerful pack.

As a second-row enforcer for the Sharks, Van Heerden acknowledges Province’s strengths cannot be overlooked.

‘WP is a very good side and have certain strengths that they go to. We know what they bring at the scrum, the lineout and the maul. But if we take those strong points away from them, will they bring something else? We shall see!’

Asked how the Sharks planned to nullify the Western Province pack, Van Heerden suggested that they would have to do more than just front up physically.

‘When you get to this level of rugby, everyone is strong and motivated and so a lot of it comes down to the technical aspects. We are blessed to have a brilliant coaching staff who have done a lot of analysis. We are very confident at this stage that we can do the job.’

The big second rower is, however, quick to point out that the Sharks also excel up front and won’t stray from their own strengths.

‘We also thrive off set piece – our lineout is a great attacking platform and we have been good at stopping mauls all season. So, we’ll trust in our processes, play our game and play our own style.’

Speaking on the Currie Cup, Van Heerden underscores how much a semi-final victory in South Africa’s most esteemed tournament would mean.

‘The Currie Cup is such a prestigious trophy and it’s the cornerstone of South African rugby. To make it to a final would be a tremendous achievement.’

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Craig Lewis