Sharks looking to lock out Griquas in Currie Cup semi-final
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DURBAN - The Sharks will be looking forward to their rematch with Griquas in today’s Currie Cup semi-final after having made a number of positive advancements since losing to the men from Kimberley in a league match at Jonsson Kings Park a month ago.
Since that 37-27 reverse, the Sharks have gained two assistant coaches in Noel Mcnamara (attack) and John Mcfarland (defence); they have a new flyhalf in Lionel Cronje (Curwin Bosch has moved to fullback) and, importantly, they have a beefy new second row in Gerbrandt Grobler and Le Roux Roets, which has gone a long way to sorting out their set-piece issues.
Both of them are 2m tall and while line-out specialist Grobler is no minnow at 120kgs, Roets is a massive 138kgs, and he has the mongrel to throw his considerable weight around.
The Sharks’ set piece has been notoriously inconsistent and that has not been helped by the long-term unavailability of their two stalwart locks in Ruben van Heerden (appendicitis) and Hyron Andrews (fractured cheekbone).
The experienced Reniel Hugo has been more than useful but with Grobler and Roets settling down into the starting second row, Hugo has been making a telling impact off the bench.
Coach Sean Everitt is thrilled with how the pair have been going in recent matches.
“Le Roux has played really well since we gave him a run of starts. He has been immense with his ball carries and his maul work, and now Gerbrandt has come in (from Stade Francais) and done sterling work,” Everitt said.
“They are big boys and Gerbrand calling the line-outs has been a big boost — he has played all over the world and has a lot of aces up his sleeve in the lineouts.
Today will be the 27th occasion in which the Cell C Sharks will be contesting a Carling Currie Cup semi-final! 🦈— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) September 4, 2021
📍: Jonsson Kings Park#SHAvGRI #CarlingCurrieCup #OurSharksForever pic.twitter.com/E6oHTA4hlY
“Our set-piece has improved significantly since we last played Griquas and I am looking forward to seeing how it goes in this game.”
And with Cronje directing traffic smoothly at flyhalf, the more possession the likes of Grobler and Roets can garner for their team, the better.
Cronje is with the Sharks on loan from Toyota Verblitz, but he has suggested that he would like to stay on in Durban, if it is possible.
“I have travelled around a lot and struggled to find a home for myself in South Africa, so if the opportunity presented itself and the timing was right, I’d definitely consider it,” Cronje said.
“I’d love to play in the United Rugby Championship so it would be exciting to see what opportunities arise out of the competition.”