Cape Town – The Sharks' kicking game is a major factor to be considered when Western Province decide on a game plan for Saturday's Currie Cup final at Newlands.
“I watched the Sharks play the Cheetahs on Saturday and not much has changed in the way they have been playing in recent weeks,” Province coach Allister Coetzee said in Bellville on Monday.
“They use a kicking game to suffocate their opponents as well put pressure on them. Often opponents respond with poor kicks back and, with Patrick Lambie in their mix, the Sharks are better off (than us) in the kicking department.”
Coetzee and his assistant Robbie Fleck both felt flyhalf Lambie was a source of great inspiration for the Sharks as he had the ability to bring out the best from the players around him.
“We saw on Saturday when the Sharks were off to a slow start how Lambie ignited their resurgence towards the end of the first half,” Fleck said.
“He looks very comfortable in his position and players feed off him.
“His tactical kicks were really classy and when last we played against him, he often managed to get behind our back three so he is someone we need to watch on Saturday.”
In a repeat of last year's final, the defending champions would not be taking anything for granted, Coetzee said.
“We regard this game as just another game, and we've experienced such games as this in the past. We will build on that experience,” he said.
“There's no need to change our focus because we have not won anything yet. We need to make sure that every player knows the detail of the plan.”
Forwards coach Matt Proudfoot said he was pleased with the way his pack dealt with the early scrum setbacks against the Golden Lions in the weekend's 33-16 semi-final encounter.
“We were disappointed with the early scrums but it was really pleasing that the guys sorted it out rather than wait for advice from me,” Proudfoot said.
“We are preparing to face the Sharks' Springbok front row and it is important how we react, rather than feel the pressure and go into a tailspin.
“The way the (scrum) rules are now, you have to be good at every scrum.”
There were two injury concerns in the Province camp. Coetzee said he would be receiving medical reports on Monday afternoon on the condition of centre Juan de Jongh and lock De Kock Steenkamp.
“We will get a report on Juan's hamstring but I think he'll be fit for Saturday, and De Kock just needs some rest because he's had a tough season.”
Western Province will name their team for Saturday's final on Wednesday. – Sapa