Five Cardiff players the Sharks will have keep under wraps

The Sharks will have to keep an eye on a dangerous Cardiff. | BackpagePix

The Sharks will have to keep an eye on a dangerous Cardiff. | BackpagePix

Published May 15, 2024


Leighton Koopman

The Sharks will have the perfect opportunity on Saturday against Cardiff Rugby to throw some youngsters into the deep end in the United Rugby Championship (URC).

While their plan to give their front-line players 40 minutes of rugby this past weekend backfired a bit with unwanted injuries, enough was shown by their replacements to entice head coach John Plumtree to give them a run against the Cardiff side (kick-off 6.15pm).

Both teams are on 25 points in the overall URC points table, but unlike the Sharks, who still have something to play for in the Challenge Cup, Cardiff only have pride on the line.

They put up a massive fight against the Lions last weekend and pushed them almost all the way. It was only in the late minutes of the clash that the Lions really pulled away and secured the bonus-point victory.

Here, we look at five Cardiff players the Sharks will have to keep in check.

Tinus de Beer. | BackpagePix

Tinus de Beer

The South African had a good welcome back after his switch overseas. He was good on the attack and got the Cardiff backline going. His kicking out of hand and at the poles remains his strong point. The Sharks should be wary of his distribution in the backline. De Beer has the knack of catching defensive lines off guard and it will be the same in Durban.

Rhys Carre. | . Backpagepix

Rhys Carre

The loosehead prop had a field day against Asenathi Nthlabakanye in their last encounter and he will want to continue it against the Sharks. Although Carre won’t scrum against a Bok prop, he will want to upstage the Sharks’ tighthead in Durban.

It didn’t go the way of Vincent Koch at the start in the scrums last weekend, and with the Springbok injured, the Kings Park side will need someone to stabilise their scrums against Carre.

Gonzalo Bertranou. | BackpagePix

Gonzalo Bertranou

The Sharks will have their hands full on defence when it comes to the Argentine international.

It’s not just his box-kicks that will put the Sharks under pressure, but his sniping around the rucks will be a handful too should he start on Saturday at Kings Park.

Seb Davies. | Backpagepix

Seb Davies

The lock will have his work cut out for him in the line-outs and on the attack against the Sharks. But he will be up for the physicality that awaits him with the ball in hand.

Judging from how the Durban side’s line-out went in their previous match, the Cardiff lock will try to put pressure on the Sharks throw-in whenever he gets the chance. He loves to carry the ball into contact and without some of their prime Springbok players, the Welshman will want to show his pedigree.

Ben Donnell. | EPA

Ben Donnell

The youngster was a handful against the Lions at Ellis Park and if he puts in the same performance, the loose trio of the Sharks will have a tough time on their hands to keep him in check.

He’s only had a handful of games as a starter this season in a struggling Cardiff side but will do everything in his power to keep impressing the coaches with his performances. If selected, Donnell will play against a seasoned Sharks loose trio that he will want to impress against.