“The players throughout this week have understood the privilege of playing in a Currie Cup semi-final, and for the younger guys coming through it is a big moment for them,” said centre Ward, who at 23 is hardly a veteran himself. “They are really excited and it is important we use that excitement in a positive way.”
Ward says there is no chance of the occasion getting too big for the six players in the team that are still under 21 because the Sharks have been living with pressure for most of their campaign after having dropped games early on to Griquas and the Pumas. In terms of qualifying for the semi-finals, the Sharks have been in sudden death mode for the last month.
“In a sense we have come off the back of three knock-out games in a row, the wins over the Cheetahs, Lions and Bulls,” Ward said. “We knew how high the stakes were in those three games, so we will be using the experience of those games in the semi-final.”
Ward has spent much of the season in the No12 jersey but has now moved to 13 because of the return of André Esterhuizen from Springbok duty. Ward says he is equally comfortable in the two midfield positions.