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Currie Cup Log

Team Points
Premier Division
Xerox Golden Lions 10 10 48
Vodacom Blue Bulls 10 8 39
DHL Western Province 10 7 35
Toyota Free State Cheetahs 10 3 24
Cell C Sharks 10 4 22
Steval Pumas 10 3 17
Eastern Province Kings 10 2 12
ORC Griquas 10 1 8
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ABSA Currie Cup Preview – Round 10


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks, WP on 9 Oct 2014 at 16:37
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

It’s the final round of Currie Cup action and somewhat surprisingly, there really aren’t too many permutations this time around.

What we know
- We know that Province will end top and thus don’t have any reason to even pitch up this weekend.
- We know that the Kings will end last and thus don’t have any reason to even pitch up this weekend.

The six other teams will all had a set goal in mind:
- The Lions just need a win over the Cheetahs to be assured or a home semi-final (2nd place)
- Assuming the Lions don’t win, the Sharks need a win to claim second. If the Lions win, the Sharks have nothing to play for either.
- The Bulls may or may not need to win against Griquas to secure fourth spot. They will know this ahead of kick-off, depending on what the Cheetahs do against the Lions earlier on Saturday.
- The Cheetahs need a big bonus pint win to temporarily end up fourth. They’ll then need Griquas to beat the Bulls in order for them to stay there.
- The Pumas need just a win against the Kings to ensure sixth place and thus avoid a relegation play-off.
- Griquas need a bloody miracle, starting with a Kings win and then a big win themselves to finish sixth.

Western Province v Sharks (Saturday 5:05pm in Cape Town)
Province coach Allister Coetzee has really put the muckers on any aspiring preview writer by picking a completely new team. A friend was saying to me earlier that one thing he has probably managed to achieve in doing so is confuse the hell out of the Sharks coaches, since neither they – nor I – have any clue as to what sort of game Province are going to play. In the absence of a form boko to guide us, though, we need to focus on the team that we do know something about – the Sharks.

Fix the scrum
The time for excuses is now over. The Sharks fared a little better at scrum time against the Lions last week, but not much. Matt Stevens has now been brought up and with a rejigged Province tight five, there really is no excuse for the Sharks to not put in a solid performance here, if not a dominant one. Brok Harris has never been much rated as a scrummager, while his cohort Oli Kebble is nothing but wet and green; while the Sharks will miss the brute strength of Kyle Cooper in the middle of the phalanx, they must have the individual superiority and combined grunt needed to get the upper hand here. Come Sharks, just bloody sort it already!

Quick ball – dictate!
The Sharks dominated the breakdown against the Lions, admittedly with the help of a somewhat sympathetic ref. Saturday’s whistle-man is Jaco Peyper, who takes perverse pleasure in ruling against them at this phase, so the visitors will need to keep a close eye on discipline while ensuring that they retain the Lion’s share of possession. Province have profited this year from living off scraps and punishing turnovers, thus the Sharks should expect to have a fair amount of ball to work with. They need to ensure that they’re retaining that possession, committing to rucks in the right way to ensure continuity and above all, keep flyhalf Lionel Cronje moving forward so that he can dictate the play. All sounds so simple, doesn’t it?

Dominate the gain line
If there’s one area that the Sharks have a clear advantage it’s the sheer size of their backs. They need to ensure that they use this physical advantage to generate and maintain momentum. Execution will be key, since loose passes will be punished on the counter. Using Esterhuizen, Sithole and Mvovo to punch the gaps, over and over again, with Mtembu and Oosthuizen there to take the ball on and set up a repeat, should set a good pattern for the Sharks to rinse and repeat all day. They need to put the fear into the young an inexperienced Province back division; make them so sick of being run into that the gaps through which tries can be scored start to open all by themselves.

Above all – win and win well!
Momentum. Morale. Motivation. That’s all there is to take from this game. A bonus point win would be nice, but ultimately won’t mean much. What we need is for the Sharks to deliver a compelling 80 minutes at Newlands that increases whatever belief there is in the squad – to reinforce the point that they ARE a good side and that they CAN go on and win this thing. The performance comes first and the points difference ultimately is less important than how well the team plays.

Prediction?
Why, Sharks by plenty, of course.

WP: 15. Dillyn Leyds, 14. EW Viljoen, 13. Pat Howard, 12. Michael van der Spuy, 11. Devon Williams, 10. Kurt Coleman, 9. Louis Schreuder, 8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Rohan Kitshoff, 5. Gerbrandt Grobler, 4. Jurie van Vuuren, 3. Brok Harris (captain), 2. Tiaan Liebenberg, 1. Oli Kebble
Replacements: 16. Neil Rautenbach, 17. Justin Ackerman, 18. Gavin Annandale, 19. Anton van Zyl, 20. Patrick O’Brien, 21. Godlen Masimla, 22. Chevandre van Schoor

Sharks: 15. SP Marais, 14. Tonderai Chavhanga, 13. S’bura Sithole, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Lionel Cronje, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Tera Mtembu (Capt) , 7. Etienne Oosthuizen, 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Marco Wentzel, 4. Stephan Lewies, 3. Matt Stevens, 2. Monde Hadebe, 1. Thomas du Toit
Replacements: 16. Franco Marais, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. JC Astle, 20. Khaya Majola, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Fred Zeilinga

In the other games, we expect the Pumas, Lions and Blue Bulls to record comfortable victories. That will set up a tasty set of semi-finals, featuring the Bulls against Province at Newlands and the Sharks taking on the Lions at Ellis Park.



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