DURBAN - It was remarked upon last year how Robert du Preez Jr seemed to relish playing against his dad as Western Province, with the flyhalf at the helm, tore through an impressive Sharks team in their last regular Currie Cup game, as well as in the final.
Du Preez was instrumental for Province in their successful Currie Cup campaign as he quickly made a name for himself, and probably did enough to get onto the map for an eventual Springbok cap in June.
Du Preez has been more than solid for the Sharks though as he has made the No 10 jersey his own in Super Rugby, but in the Currie Cup there is definitely room for him to take the Sharks forward.
Du Preez is an adept kicker especially off the tee, but his attacking game and ability to run at the line with his size is what makes him an undeniable threat. The Sharks are seeking an attacking game plan and have the pivot to do so, as well as the support system down the spine to aid.
From the front, Chiliboy Ralepelle makes up the beginning of the spine, and with the captain’s armband on him the hooker should be leading the charge. He has been a safe and able captain, but has shown in the black and white of the Sharks that he can be instrumental.
Moving through the pack, Dan du Preez, even as one part of the destructive twin duo, can add a lot from the base of the ruck, and should be personifying the Sharks’ famed physicality. Du Preez is a busy player, but the Sharks could really use a few more game-defining tackles and barn-storming runs.
At No 9, the Sharks have a very tactical scrumhalf in Louis Schreuder. Another Bok, Schrueder offers a cool head and can read the game well, but with Du Preez’ ability to attack the gain line, Schrueder needs to be sparking a few opportunities from the base of the ruck for the exciting backs to capitalise on.
Looking at No 15, Curwin Bosch is an undoubted talent, but he is slipping down the pecking order at national level, and perhaps even at the Sharks. He has admitted he plays his best rugby when he is enjoying the game, and for the Sharks, it is worth making him happy just so he can play at his best.
With half the regular Currie Cup season already over, the Sharks are in a fantastic position on the standings having gathered maximum points in three games. The remaining three games, which begin on Saturday with the Lions at Kings Park, will undoubtedly be tougher and really scream for this talented spine to step it up a level.