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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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Big ask for Andre

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 24 Feb 2015 at 12:44
Tagged with : , , , , ,

Further to my musings regarding rotation earlier today, it looks likely that at least one rotational change in the backline is very much on the cards for Loftus, and has been planned for some time.

Heimar Williams has started the last two games at inside centre and done a reasonable job, despite having few opportunities to show off his vision and distribution skills. Against the cheetahs, the Sharks simply didn’t compete well enough up front to allow the back front foot ball, while last week’s Lions game – while an absorbing encounter – saw the backs relegated to the role of tacklers and ruckers, rather than runners and passers.

Young Andre Esterhuizen is apparently set to take over from Williams this week and offers a completely different dynamic. While still some way off Williams’ prowess as a distributor, the 100kg+ Esterhuizen offers a completely different dynamic in midfield, as a hard-running gainline-crosser, but particularly also as an aggressive defender able to dominate in the tackle and shift the momentum at the contact point.

Given the anticipated approach from the Bulls, which will involve one-off runners hitting the line at speed and hoping to create an offload situation past the point of contact, Esterhuizen will have an important job to do as a counter. Keeping Springbok Jan Serfontein in check will be his primary responsibility and his challenge will be to read the play well enough to get his big body into the right part of the field in time to make that tackle and swing the contest in the Sharks’ favour, given that he’ll probably concede a little in the pace and agility stakes to his opposite number.

A big game coming up for Andre and a chance to show that he belongs at this level, after his previous Super Rugby appearance (in the corresponding fixture last year) raised more questions than answers.


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