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URC muscle as Sharks looking to end Province play-off dream

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Sharks will be seeking another character-driven performance in the Currie Cup on Saturday, when they host Western Province in the final round of the pool stages.

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With a home semifinal secured and looking to maintain their position on the top of the standings – which would translate into a home Final should they get there – a win in Cape Town is not negotiable for the visitors.

The Sharks are chasing an eighth straight victory in their march towards glory under coach Joey Mongalo.

This team has had an injection of United Rugby Championship players as the tournament reaches the business end.

Phendulani Buthelezi will be leading a team that shows 14 changes from last week’s starting XV, with an eye on having a rejuvenated squad available for the play-offs.

“It’s been a very long Currie Cup and the majority of the boys have played throughout,” assistant coach Jon-Paul Pietersen said.

“We had a chat as coaches about freshening them up, getting them hungry for a home semi, that’s one thing we’re 100 percent sure of.

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“We want to put all our energy into the home semi.

“In saying that, we still need to do the job in Cape Town so we can get a home Final.”

Pietersen points out that continuity has been important throughout the campaign, but given the demands on the bodies, player welfare and management is key at this stage.

“The group has really put their hands up and the cohesion is really good. You must give the boys credit for this, they’ve won games and it’s been easy to stick with them.”

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Key to the unbeaten streak is not only in the performances, but in the players’ positive and ambitious mental state.

“You can see in the results that this is a group that’s been together and played together for a long time, the cohesion is there. But as coaches, you can coach as much as you can, but the want from the players is there.

“That’s very satisfying for the coaches, we give them the platform to express their talent and they have shown the desire to not simply be competitive in the Currie Cup, they want to win it.”

Sharks: 15 Thaakir Abrahams, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 12 Marnus Potgieter, 11 Phikolomzi Sobahle, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Phendulani Buthelezi (captain), 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Khwezi Mona.
Replacements: 16 Dameon Venter, 17 Dian Bleuler, 18 Hanro Jacobs, 19 Corne Rahl, 20 Nick Hatton, 21 Celimpilo Gumede, 22 Tiaan Fourie, 23 Nevaldo Fleurs.

Date: Saturday, June 10
Venue: Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17.05 (15.05 GMT)
Referee: Paul Mente
Assistant referees: Griffin Colby, Stephan Geldenhuys
TMO: Egon Seconds

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