Two shades of Grey in Shark Tank
SUPER RUGBY UNLOCKED SPOTLIGHT: When the Sharks host the Cheetahs in Durban on Friday, most of the spotlight will be on the collective.
However, there is an intriguing and delectable sideshow that is worth tuning into the match for.
The midfield will feature two former Grey College, Bloemfontein, First XV captains going head-to-head – as the two teams view for crucial league points.
Marius Louw is eight years the junior of Frans Steyn, but the two come with a very similar pedigree.
While both were schooled at the famous Grey factory, they do bring slightly disparate and distinct styles.
Sharks coach Sean Everitt said he was looking forward to the midfield battle in the Shark Tank,
Steyn adds a different dimension to the already accomplished Cheetahs game.
“He is a kicking No.12 that can defend and carry from set piece,” Everitt told a pre-match media briefing – when asked about the two-time World Cup-winning Springbok.
“We will have to disrupt their rhythm with some really good, aggressive defence.”
The 33-year-old utility back is very familiar with the Shark Tank – having played for the Durban outfit in nearly 100 Super Rugby and Currie Cup matches.
Add in his 170-odd outings for Racing 92, Brave Lupus and Montpellier – to go with his 67 Tests and two World Cup titles – and you realise the axis around which the Cheetahs backline function.
Everitt admitted the Steyn versus Louw face-off is an intriguing contest.
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“They are two very good players,” he said.
“Frans [Steyn] did not become a Springbok at the age of 19 for nothing,” Everitt said of the prodigious player, who burst onto the international scene when he debuted for South Africa in the Springbok centenary match against Ireland at Lansdowne Road on November 11, 2006.
The then 19-year-old started on the left wing and scored a try.
“He [Steyn] has been here at the Sharks [for nearly a decade] and he is a multi-skilled player.
“He has really good distribution skills and a very dangerous boot. He defends well and makes good decisions on defence.
“It is the up-and-coming player versus the experienced player,” the Sharks coach said of the midfield battle.
“Marius [Louw] certainly has shown some good signs for us, especially in filling the boots of Andre Esterhuizen.
“I am looking forward to the battle.
“Marius Louw’s workrate would be a lot higher than that France Steyn and that is because of the makeup of the two players.
“It will be interesting to see.
“They are both old boys from Grey [College] in Bloemfontein and both captained the school’s First XV.
“It will be an interesting battle.”