Sharks wary of Pumas threatComment on this story
Durban – Sharks coach Brad Macleod-Henderson has identified the Pumas' threat from set-pieces and their centres as the biggest threats ahead of their Currie Cup showdown in Durban at Kings Park on Friday.
The Pumas stunned the Free State Cheetahs 28-21 in their competition opener at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit last week.
Macleod-Henderson was impressed by the team's pack as well as centre pairing of Stefan Watermeyer and JW Jonker.
“It all starts up front, they got a strong scrum, they got a good line-out and they look to play from those two areas,” he said.
“They also got two abrasive centres, who look to punch holes and then they play off that, so defensively we need to be strong and our set-piece will need to function.”
Macleod-Henderson said the result in the Lowveld also illustrated the strength of the competition.
“The Currie Cup is a tough competition, all eight sides have quality players and the Pumas showed that last week,” he said.
“They showed why they are a very good side. They've only lost two or three games in the last two years.”
Macleod-Henderson praised the great form the Pumas displayed in the Vodacom Cup.
“They did well in that tournament and just getting piped at the post by eventual winners Griquas in the semis.”
The Sharks along with every major franchise are without their star players due to Springbok duty, meaning the smaller teams would have a fair chance in the tournament.
The Durban based team were pushed to the limit against a 14-man Griquas side last weekend, but eventually won 31-24 in Kimberley.
Macleod-Henderson, who has made just one change for the clash, was looking forward to making a return to their home ground.
“We've taken a lot of confidence out of our away win last week.”
The team change made by the Sharks would see JC Astle replace Stephan Lewies at lock, while Patrick Lambie would be on the bench after he was released from national duty to gain more playing time after close to four months out injured.
Sharks team: SP Marais, Odwa Ndungane, S’bura Sithole, Paul Jordaan, Tonderai Chavhanga, Fred Zeilinga, Cameron Wright, Tera Mtembu (captain), Etienne Oosthuizen, Jacques Botes, Marco Wentzel, JC Astle, Lourens Adriaanse, Kyle Cooper, Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: Monde Hadebe, Matt Stevens, Johan Meyer, Francois Kleinhans, Hanco Venter, Patrick Lambie, Lionel Cronje.– Sapa