DURBAN – Sharks coach Sean Everitt has a host of Under-20 players in his team for tomorrow’s big clash with the Bulls at Loftus and he is certain they will stand the heat of what will be a fierce battle.
Flank Phepsi Buthelezi, hooker Dylan Richardson, flyhalf Henry Chamberlain and scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba have come through strongly after playing in the SuperSport challenge series earlier this year when Super Rugby was under way.
“These youngsters starred in the Under-19 final last year, they know what the feeling is like to win trophies,” Everitt said. “Winning a senior Currie Cup for them in their first year would be awesome for them, they are very motivated.
“We did not bring them at the risk of compromising our chances of winning the Currie Cup ... they have deserved their opportunities and have impressed with what they can do at senior level.”
The Sharks can finish second on the final log if a number of permutations go their way.
If the Lions beat Griquas and the Cheetahs beat Western Province, then the Sharks can’t catch them, even with a win at Loftus.
But if the Lions and the Cheetahs lose, then a bonus-point haul for the Sharks in Pretoria would earn them a home semi-final, and should Griquas lose in the semis, the Sharks would host a final (if they won their semi).
“Honestly, we are not looking at the permutations,” Everitt stressed. “We just want to go and play a really good game. The players are calm, I’m calm. I just want them to play well because if they do, we will win.
If we don’t, we won’t have achieved our season goal of playing good rugby. I want the players to enjoy what they do, express themselves and play a good game.”
The Bulls go into the match under the threat of relegation (should they lose), so the Sharks have to brace themselves for war.
“Historically, the Bulls are a physical side anyway, plus they have it all to play for on Saturday which makes them very dangerous,” Everitt said “We must stick to our structures and show composure. If we can look after them in the first 20 minutes it will do us well.
“We know what is coming so we have to very solid in defence. Defence has been our strength in this campaign so we obviously we need to keep that up.”
The Sharks team:
Aphelele Fassi, Kobus van Wyk, Jeremy Ward (c-c), Andre Esterhuizen, Lwazi Mvovo, Boeta Chamberlain, Sanele Nohamba, Tera Mtembu (c-c), Jacques Vermeulen, Phepsi Buthelezi, Hyron Andrews, Ruben van Heerden, Coenie Oosthuizen, Kerron van Vuuren, Thomas du Toit;
Replacements: Dylan Richardson, Mzamo Majola, John-Hubert Meyer, Gideon Koegelenberg, Andisa Ntsila, Cameron Wright, Rhyno Smith, JP Pietersen.@MikeGreenaway67