Durban - Knowing that Griquas can be particularly dangerous on the counter-attack, the Sharks have prioritised the need to protect their possession far better during Saturday’s Currie Cup encounter in Kimberley.
Last Saturday, the Sharks coughed up possession far too easily against the Cheetahs, with the Free State side taking full advantage to score a couple of soft tries that resulted from turnovers, leaving the Sharks in all kinds of trouble before a late blitz saw them salvage a last-gasp victory.
“We’re putting ourselves under pressure with the amount of ball we are turning over,” Sharks assistant coach Hugh Reece-Edwards acknowledged.
“A similar thing happened at the beginning of the Super Rugby tournament; we addressed it, but also changed the game plan a little.
“This time we’re not really looking to change our game plan, we want to be adventurous in the way we play and we want to allow the boys to express themselves, but we are going to look at halting our error rate.”
The Sharks will also be aware that Griquas have tallied an impressive 12 tries this season and certainly aren’t afraid to attack from anywhere.
“I think they enjoy hosting any team, especially with their field, crowd and style of play,” Reece-Edwards said.
“It’s a challenge we have to embrace. It’s going to be a big test for us up there, they really climbed into the Lions (last Friday) and it’s tough for any side that goes to Kimberley.
“Griquas want to win at home and, with the promotion-relegation format of the competition, there is a lot of pressure, so they will want to make sure their home games are positive ones for them.”
* Meanwhile, the Blue Bulls wouldn’t have taken many positives out of their review of a 42-6 reverse at Newlands last Saturday.
Coach Pine Pienaar said his team was “pathetic”, alluding to the fact that Western Province dominated almost every facet of play.
What will be of particular concern for the Bulls as they prepare to host the defending champion Lions this week, is the number of penalties and unforced errors they conceded as well as a shoddy defensive effort that included 14 missed tackles. But the Lions have reason to be even more ashamed after going down 42-32 against Griquas at Ellis Park. Both teams will be hungry for redemption this week, especially since the loser at Loftus Versfeld may slip into last place on the standings.