Fez Mbatha promises no niceties for Sharks old boys in Currie Cup clash against Lions in Durban

Fez Mbatha says there is zero chance of the Sharks taking their foot off the gas on Saturday

FILE - Fez Mbatha says there is zero chance of the Sharks taking their foot off the gas on Saturday. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Published May 31, 2023


Durban — The Lions will bring two Sharks old boys to HollywoodBets Kings Park on Saturday, but home hooker Fez Mbatha says any niceties will be reserved for after the important Currie Cup clash.

Lions captain Marius Louw and scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba were popular members of Sean Everitt’s Sharks, but followed the coach to pastures new. Everitt is now on the Bulls’ coaching staff in the Currie Cup, while Louw and Nohamba have been stars for the Lions this year.

Louw had a very good United Rugby Championship, but has recently been injured, while Nohamba has been a key part of the Lions’ fight back in the domestic competition, be it at flyhalf or at his customary No 9 position.

“We will welcome them back to the Shark Tank, of course, but at 7pm on Saturday night it is 7pm,” said Mbatha, suggesting that will be the time for hostilities and not friendly catch-ups.

In fact, the Sharks are preparing to deliver a fiery onslaught to the Lions, full stop.

“The Lions are a good side and this game is like a quarter-final for them (the Lions have to beat the Sharks to have a hope of making the semi-finals) and they will come here with plenty of physicality, so we plan to fight fire with fire,” Mbatha said.

“We will bring our own physicality and will front up to their pack. I have the utmost confidence in our pack. We will put our best foot forward and be as physical as possible.”

The Sharks are currently top of the standings with two rounds until the semis. They have won six games on the trot and it is largely thanks to the foundation that Mbatha and his fellow forwards have provided for the backs.

The Sharks pack has been very impressive and Mbatha says credit must go to forwards coach Philip Lemmer, who happens to be a Lions old boy, as is coach Joey Mongalo. So there is bound to be plenty of spice in this game.

“Philip really is a great coach,” Mbatha said. “With him, it is all about making sure you do the small things really well and that every set piece is a battle on its own. You play from whistle to whistle, scrum to scrum, lineout to lineout.”

Mbatha said there is zero chance of the Sharks taking their foot off the gas on Saturday.

“Every single game is important to us, regardless of log position. It is all about momentum and getting every possible thing right before the playoffs. We must play the best we can every Saturday if we hope to win the Currie Cup,” he said.


IOL Sport