AUDIO: Sharks primed for breakdown battle
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Sharks loose forward Phepsi Buthelezi has revealed how his team will target Griquas’ attack during their Super Rugby Unlocked encounter.
The Sharks got their campaign back on track with a 19-13 win against the Cheetahs last weekend.
The win saw the Sharks move to second on the table with 13 points – six points behind the pace-setting Bulls.
They are expected to narrow the gap between them and the Pretoria outfit with a bonus-point win in Kimberley.
However, given the unpredictability of this tournament, along with Griquas proving to be a very challenging opponent – especially in Kimberly – it may not be the walk in the park most expect the Sharks to have.
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“Griquas have a lot of potential,” Buthelezi told reporters on Tuesday.
“I know their coach Scott Mathie quite well,” the loose forward said, adding: “He used to be my coach while I was at [ Durban] high school, so I know what he and some of the Griquas players are capable off.
“They’ve had their ups and downs, but I rate them as a proper side.
“We are certainly not looking at the fixture as an easy game. We are going to make sure that we are prepared and get the job done in Kimberley.
“I think we all know how difficult it is to play the Griquas in Kimberley.”
One area of concern ahead for the Kimberley challenge has been the Sharks’ set-pieces and Buthelezi admitted the breakdown has been major work on this week.
Griquas, on the other hand, have been impressive in that area with loose trio combo of Gideon van der Merwe, Stefan Willemse and Carl Els working relentlessly to put the team’s under pressure.
“Griquas have a really good loose trio and their No.6 [Van der Merwe] is very good on the ground.
“I think as a team we have been struggling with our attacking breakdown, so that area has been one of our focuses for this week,”
He explained: “We have to make sure we are getting early on the ball carrier and make sure there is no daylight between the supporting cleaners and ball carrier because they [ the Griquas] are going to go hard on the breakdown.
“Having said that, we just have to make sure their no.6 tackle so he doesn’t have that opportunity to poach.
He added: “I think it doesn’t matter who runs out for us all the loose forwards in the Sharks are capable of getting the job done.”