Over the last few years the coastal derbies has become almost the same as the old north versus south one’s when Western Province and the Sharks clash in Currie Cup or Super Rugby.
This weekend we have Province traveling up the coast to face the top side in the Currie Cup this year, the Sharks, in Durban. One can just hope that the weather is not to bad for both teams to give us a great clash.
The Sharks have been above the rest this season with the rest scrambling for places in the play-offs. Since the week 1 defeat the Sharks suffered against a full strength Cheetahs side while their top players were fighting it out in the Super Rugby play-offs, the Sharks have not lost a match.
They have swept most teams off the field this year as coach Robert Du Preez is busy building a create culture and team in Durban.
The Sharks have the perfect balance in their team with one of the strongest packs combined with great backline players that can run the game and a great 10 that control the game when it is tight.
If their is one team that can really challenge the Sharks it has to be Western Province which have a similar team setup with a great pack and exciting backs.
The problem for Province is however that they are more inconsistent than a 16 year girl. For some unexplained reason as well, Dobson have decided that young and exciting Damien Wilemse must play fullback rather than the pivotal position of flyhalf.
This match will be won and lost upfront, with two good packs taking each other on. Du Preez decided to use his best players for the match as the Sharks prepare for whoever they face next week in the semi-finals.
Ruan Botha will captain the Sharks from number 5 with Dan Du Preez at eight and his brother Jean-Luc playing of the bench hoping for a huge impact in the second half from the Springbok.
At the back Am is back to pare up with Louw and Nkosi and Ndungane on the outside. I have been massively impressed with April at fullback as he brings another great attacking opportunity to the Sharks from deep.
This is something Province will have to take note off as they played a very dull and dumb kicking game last week against the Lions which cost them the game. Senseless kicking from Province will result in tries for the Sharks with guys like April, Nkosi and Ndungane at the back.
Province also welcomed back some Springbok in Wilco Louw and Leyds. With names like Leyds, Senatla and Willemse at the back, province have the ability to attack from deep with power and speed. They will have to be on top of their game as the Sharks have been the best defensive team in the competition this year.
Robert Du Preez will pull over the Province jersey against his dad team on Saturday and they will need him to have a great game if they want to stand any change in winning this match.
The Sharks is not playing for more than keeping the winning momentum in looking forward to next weeks semi-final with Province wanting this win to secure their home semi-final.
It should be a cracker and we hope the teams brings it on Saturday.
Prediction: Both teams are potential Cup winners and it all depends who win that mini battles but I have to go with the home side by 7 just because Province have been so inconsistent in what they have done this year
Sharks: 15 Garth April, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Sibusiso Nkosi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit
Replacements: 16 Mahlatse Ralepelle, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Jean Droste, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Tristan Blewett, 22 Jacobus van Wyk
Western Province: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Ruhan Nel, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (c), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Jan de Klerk, 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Justin Phillips, 21 Werner Kok, 22 EW Viljoen