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
Saturday , November 22
Exeter vs WaspsExeter vs Wasps Preview
London Irish vs BathLondon Irish vs Bath Preview
Sunday , November 23
Saracens vs NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Preview
London Welsh vs Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Preview
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 22
Italy vs South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Preview
Scotland vs TongaScotland vs Tonga Preview
Romania vs CanadaRomania vs Canada Preview
Ireland vs AustraliaIreland vs Australia Preview
Wales vs New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Preview
England vs SamoaEngland vs Samoa Preview
France vs ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Preview
Sunday , November 23
Georgia vs JapanGeorgia vs Japan Preview
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Sunday , November 23
Treviso vs LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Preview
Edinburgh vs Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Preview
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle FalconsBath vs Newcastle Falcons Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Romania 13 - 18 JapanRomania vs Japan Report
England 28 - 31 South AfricaEngland vs South Africa Report
France 29 - 26 AustraliaFrance vs Australia Report
Scotland 16 - 24 New ZealandScotland vs New Zealand Report
Tonga 40 - 12 USATonga vs USA Report
Wales 17 - 13 FijiWales vs Fiji Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 14
Gloucester 15 - 22 HarlequinsGloucester vs Harlequins Report
Northampton 18 - 24 ExeterNorthampton vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 18 - 20 ArgentinaItaly vs Argentina Report
Canada 13 - 23 SamoaCanada vs Samoa Report
More International Match results
LV= Cup
Cardiff Blues 19 - 13 Scarlets
Ospreys 35 - 51 DragonsOspreys vs Dragons Report
Sunday , November 9
Wasps 43 - 22 London Irish
More LV= Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton726
2Exeter724
3Bath724
4Saracens724
5Wasps720