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Few changes for Loftus – BMH


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 1 Oct 2013 at 15:07
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , ,

I caught up with Sharks coach Brad Macleod-Henderson this afternoon to get his thoughts ahead of Friday’s Currie Cup match against the Blue Bulls.

After yet another good away result at a venue that has troubled the Sharks in the past, Macleod-Henderson has reason to be happy and he acknowledges that last week’s triumph over the Lions was special. “Our interplay between forwards and back was very good, I thought”, he tells us, “we kept the ball and made a few line breaks, which is always nice to see. Also in the second half when we came under pressure – when we were on our line for the last few minutes – we hung in to get the victory, which showed great character.”

Turning the the performance of debutant Stephan Lewies, the coach proclaimed himself satisfied, saying “he did very well, hey? He covered a lot of ground and competed well on their line-out throw. Also he took and returned the pass back to Fred [Zeilinga] for the first try, so we’re very happy with the way he went in his first game for the Sharks.”

Not that it all went flawlessly though. “Line-outs and scrums again weren’t always great, so that’s an area we want to look at this week. Defensively, also, we need to tighten up a bit; we let them in for three tries and we want to improve on that this weekend.” Macleod-Henderson admitted that the scrums are be a bit of a frustrating area at the moment – probably for all coaching teams – with sides battling for consistency from match to match (and referee to referee). “Each week we start fresh though,” he adds. “Our scrums were very good against Free State, but took a step backwards against the Lions. We’re working hard on that to ensure we have a good platform against the Bulls this weekend.”

Looking at the Bulls, Macleod-Henderson chuckles that their big victory in Kimberley at the weekend, “probably wasn’t the ideal result, from our point of view. Their confidence will be up because they played really well and scored some great tries. They’ve got a lot to play for and we know we’re going to have a hell of a game on our hands on Friday night.” Not that the Sharks are short on confidence themselves, though, having picked up some crucial away victories – often in trying circumstances. “We know that to win this competition we’re going to have beat everyone at some stage, so even if they are peaking at the wrong time [for us], we’ll just have to take that in our stride.”

Macleod-Henderson admits that picking their strongest available side for this weekend is “tough”, given the number of form players putting their hands up. “We should get Marcell Coetzee back, but not Pieter-Steph or any of the other guys who played for the Boks last weekend. Jean Deysel and Jacques Botes will come back in this week – they’ll have a set of fresh legs. Jacques will be at 6 and Jean at 7, leaving Keegan to play 8. We’re going to keep the tight five as it is.” That means a bench role for Coetzee, which is perhaps a sensible call given that he’ll not enjoy much time to train with his teammates.

The other interesting selection news sees Heimar Williams likely to retain the inside centre jersey, with Tim Whitehead at 13 and Louis Ludik playing off the bench. “We’ll probably also give Cobus Reinach a start at nine this week,” Macleod-Henderson reveals, “but we’ve seen all season the sort of impact that either of the scrumhalves can make coming off the bench, so Charl [McLeod] will still have a big role to play too”.



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