Planet Rugby

Preview: Sharks v Cheetahs

18th April 2014 08:31

Share:

Jean Deysel and Johann Sadie Sharks v Cheetahs SR 2014

Top v bottom: Sharks and Cheetahs

The Sharks will be out to cement their position at the top of the table when they host the Cheetahs in Durban on Friday.

These sides head into this encounter having experienced contrasting fortunes this season with the men from Bloemfontein, who were the surprise package in last year's tournament, well of the pace in the race for the play-offs this year and languishing in second last spot on the table.

The Sharks are, of course, brimming with confidence as they have only lost one match from seven this season - against the Bulls in Pretoria in Round Six - but they will not be underestimating the visitors, who, despite their lowly position in the standings, beat them 12-6 in Durban last year.

And apart from that result, the Sharks have two of their other six previous home games against the Bloemfontein-based franchise.

But that was then and this is now. Under former Springbok coach Jake White, the Sharks have made tremendous strides this season.

Despite injuries to key players, the Sharks are still the competition's pacesetters and the players who have come into the side as replacements have certainly made their presence felt.

One such player who has thrived under White's coaching is outside centre S'bura Sithole, who won the man-of-the-match award in the Sharks' 25-12 victory over the Lions in Johannesburg last weekend.

This weekend another youngster, fly-half Tim Swiel, gets his chance to impress after Fred Zeilinga - who replaced first-choice pivot Pat Lambie a couple of weeks ago - was injured against the Lions.

It will be interesting to see how Swiel copes with the pressure of having Cheetahs and former Springbok tearaway Heinrich Brüssow - who makes his first appearance in the competition this year after a spell in Japan - chasing him down in this game.

Brüssow's inclusion is sure to bolster the Cheetahs pack and Cheetahs boss coach Naka Drotske believes he will make a big impact upon his return.

"We are glad to have him back in the thick of things, especially with Lappies Labuschagne out injured," said Drotkse.

"He (Brussow) will be a key factor at the breakdown area this weekend."

Brüssow faces a tough adversary in Sharks' openside Marcell Coetzee, who has impressed throughout the home side's campaign and has been amongst the leading foragers in the competition.

Defence has been facet of play in which the Sharks have shown the biggest improvement and Drotske believes his side will have to improve considerably in that area if they want to be successful against their hosts and during the rest of the competition.

"As a whole we don't play the same rugby as last year," he added.

"There are too many soft moments and we need to start at the basics again.

"Maybe sometimes we want to play too expansive and we need to hang onto the ball.

"But yes, there were too many soft moments and too many turnovers. Defence is a concern and you can't disagree with the facts and the stats."

Form: The Sharks have only lost once this season and bounced back from losing three weeks four weeks ago by winning twice either side of their bye week. They are also unbeaten at home. The Cheetahs haven't won since Round 2 and in their last six matches have drawn once and lost five times.

Previous Results:

2013: Cheetahs won 12-6 in Durban
2013: Sharks won 29-22 in Bloemfontein
2012: Sharks won 34-15 in Durban
2012: Sharks won 34-20 in Bloemfontein

Prediction: The Sharks are on a high and will be keen to give their supporters a great send off before they depart for their overseas tour. The visitors will make a game of it but should be like lambs to the slaughter. Sharks to win by 18 points!

The teams:

Sharks 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Tonderai Chavhanga, 13 S'bura Sithole, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (c), 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Ryan Kankowski, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Heimar Williams, 23 SP Marais.

Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Hennie Daniller, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Boom Prinsloo, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Andries Ferreira, 20 Teboho Mohoje, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Riaan Smith, 23 Raymond Rhule.

Date: Saturday, April 19
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 15:00 (local, 13:00 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Marius Jonker (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommenstein (South Africa)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 37 - 23 Cardiff BluesLeinster vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411