The Sharks, determined to add to their six Currie Cup titles, have earmarked two key areas of the game that will help them achieve their goal.
By: Jan de Koning
Travelling to Cape Town on Saturday, to face defending champions Western Province at Newlands in the Final, the men from Durban have laid claim to the underdog tag.
However, according to forwards coach Brad Macleod-Henderson, they can upstage the odds if they get two important parts of their game right.
“The two aspects [that will be key] is defence and then discipline,” he told this website in the build-up to the grand finale.
“We need to be very disciplined and defend well,” Macleod-Henderson said, adding: “They have some big ball carriers up front and some exciting backs out wide.”
Despite the Bismarck du Plessis incident last week, the Sharks mentor feels the team’s discipline has been impeccable.
Du Plessis was cleared to play on Tuesday, after a South African Rugby Union judicial hearing found him not guilty of stamping in the semifinal against the Free State Cheetahs last week.
“Our discipline has been very good,” the forwards coach said, adding: “We [only] gave away eight penalties and one free kick [in the semifinal win over the Cheetahs].
“That is something we continually work on and the guys have been very good at it.
“I’m sure that [trend] will continue into the Final.”
He added that their defence has been working well for them – having conceded just 21 tries in 10 league games, the same as WP, this season.
“We work hard on our defence and last week again it was strong.
“No team has scored four tries against us [this season].
“Obviously this is the Final and there will be a couple of opportunities and we have to ensure defensively we are sound and we snuff out any of their attacks.”
* Meanwhile the Sharks have delayed their team announcement till Thursday to give prop Jannie du Plessis and loose forward Jean Deysel additional time to recover.
Du Plessis missed the 33-22 semifinal victory over the Cheetahs with a hand injury, while Deysel was forced off early with a hamstring problem.
Macleod-Henderson admitted that losing the pair would be tough on the Sharks.
“It’s always a big blow to lose two Springboks like that,” he said.