Tambwe makes debut for the Sharks

By Mike Greenaway Time of article published Feb 5, 2020

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The Sharks will take the field against the Highlanders on Saturday in conditions that will be incomparable to the stifling humidity of their first-round clash against the Bulls in Durban.

The Sharks had to dig deep to eventually put away the Bulls in the suffocating heat, and the dull rugby they played could not be further from the lively game they would prefer.

But deep on New Zealand’s South Island, the conditions will be perfect for running rugby against a home team that has been born and raised to run the ball in the cool, dry conditions of the Forsyth Barr Stadium, especially considering the stadium has a closable roof should it rain.

Speaking  from the Sharks’ base in Auckland, Everitt said that the Sharks will play a very different game while also expecting an approach from the Highlanders that will starkly contrast with how the Bulls played at Jonsson Kings Park last week.

“Our focus first and foremost is on what we could have done better against the Bulls last week,” Everitt said. “We had a look at our stuttering kicking game and some of the weaknesses we showed and will be looking to brush up on those areas.”

And while the Highlanders had a first-round bye, the Sharks have gone to school on their warm-up games.

“The Highlanders had two pre-season games, against the Crusaders and the Waratahs,” Everitt said. “So, we had a look at them and they are no different from other Kiwi teams. They like to play at high intensity, they are direct and move the ball around a lot.

“The Highlanders and Bulls games are going to be very different. Last week in Durban, both teams went into the game with a kicking plan. We wanted to kick, but we also wanted to take advantage of their poor kicks and at times we didn’t.”

In analysing the game against the Bulls, Everitt says he was  impressed by the efforts of flyhalf Curwin Bosch and debutant flank James Venter, who have both retained their places in the team this weekend.

“We made no secret of our breakdown work prior to the start of Super Rugby. That is why we brought James into the set-up, and I thought he was outstanding against the Bulls,” Everitt said

“Likewise with Curwin... He is improving from week to week, at training as well as in the game. I thought that he struck the ball really well with his left foot and attacked the gain-line well. He has also improved his defence, so we are happy where we are with him, too.”

Everitt added that young scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba is close to a starting role sometime in the future, after his excellent impact from the bench against the Bulls.

“He was definitely in consideration to start. But I believe in continuity in the team. I know that Sanele played really, really well and had a good Currie Cup. It is definitely one that we are discussing at the moment.”

In the only change to the Sharks team that beat the Bulls, former Lions wing Madosh Tambwe will make his debut in the place of injured Sbu Nkosi.

Sharks – 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Lukhanyo Am (c), 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Sikumbuzo Notshe, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche.

Subs: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Boeta Chamberlain, 23 Jeremy Ward.

Mike Greenaway

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