DURBAN – The Sharks’ lanky lock Hyron Andrews was born two weeks after a Sharks lock of the same surname played in the 1995 World Cup final.
That would make the Andrews currently playing for the Sharks 23 years of age, and you can forgive him for having no recollection of Mark Andrews’ glorious playing days.
Time flies ...things change, including the Currie Cup where the average age of teams decreases every year. Hyron is already in the Sharks’ leadership group, just three years on from the SA Under-20 team of 2015 and six years on from featuring for SA Schools.
He has surely stopped growing at 2.02m (6 ft 7 12 in) but he could do with filling out, although he is heavier than you think at 107 kgs.
Not surprisingly he has taken the most lineout ball for the Sharks in this year’s Currie Cup and he will have to be on his toes when he squares up to the Lions’ lineout ace, Franco Mostert, in Saturday’s Currie Cup semi-final at Kings Park.
Andrews, schooled in Pretoria at Hoërskool Garsfontein, reckons the Sharks are starting to peak at just the right time.
“The guys went pretty well in the round robin stages; it was a real squad effort, everybody chipped in because a big focus for us is trying to get better every day, learning from each other and growing as a team,” Andrews said. “Now we are into the business end of the tournament and it feels like it is all coming together, so in this game we have to improve once again if we are to win through to the final.”
The Sharks were indeed good in shutting out Griquas in Kimberley last week, winning 41-11 and with the Sharks treating it as a quarter-final, that match was a good dress rehearsal for the sterner stuff that awaits them on Saturday.
“The coaches prepped us before the game and we knew it would be physical,” Andrews said. “It was the Griquas’ last game and they were fired up to do well, but we stuck to our processes. We treated it as playoff and we knew that every facet of play was going to be important, particularly the set pieces.
“We wanted them to go well, and they did, and we will take that into the semi-final now with the Lions ... the set piece is going to be very important, especially if it is wet.
“The last time we played the Lions the set piece battle was key,” Andrews continued.
“I felt we scrummed well against them. The lineout was good, and our backs really performed, especially in defence, and you need a solid defence against the Lions as they attack really well. In short, when we have the ball we have to keep it and when they have it we have to keep them out.
“The Lions are a world class union and they played in the Super Rugby final. We know what they will bring, so we can rather look at our own processes and do what we have to do to win this game.”