Everitt: Sharks v Stormers is not dog eat dog
Sharks coach Sean Everitt is not concerning himself about the blue-chip status of their home Super Rugby date with the Stormers on Saturday.
It’s an SA conference top of the table clash and the Sharks are at the top by virtue of five wins in six matches. The Stormers are four from five‚ but the regressing patterns of their performances has been the biggest concern.
It’s the Sharks’ second SA derby and the dog-eat-dog nature of the game isn’t a worry for Everitt. It’s about how his charges respond to the changing weekly challenges.
“I don’t see it as a season definer. We’re only going into our seventh game of the season‚ so we still have a long way to go. We’ve just discussed injuries and anything can happen in a short space of time‚” Everitt said.
“It’s good that in this competition‚ you take each game as it comes and not look at the longer run because we can’t determine that. As long as the guys perform on a weekly basis‚ we’ll be very happy with that. We need to focus on our job for each Saturday.”
Everitt named an unchanged team for a game where the Sharks will be slotted in as favourites. It’s not the best tag to have for SA derbies but Everitt isn’t an over-thinker. The Sharks’ simple but equally varied approach allowed them to outgun the Jaguares at every turn last week.
“Our results have been really pleasing over the past few weeks‚ but we judge ourselves on performance. We know in certain areas‚ we’ve been performing well‚ our set piece has improved but there’s still room for improvement‚” the coach said.
“Last week‚ our point of difference was our kicking game. If the Stormers handle that well‚ we’ll have to look elsewhere.”
Stormers coach John Dobson has made a host of changes‚ with the significant one being Damian Willemse moving to fullback with Jean-Luc du Plessis slotting in at 10. Dillyn Leyds moves to wing with Sergeal Petersen on the bench.
An injury enforced reshuffle sees Johan du Toit replacing his brother Pieter-Steph at flank while Ersnt van Rhyn starts on the other flank ahead of Jaco Coetzee.
Dobson said switching Willemse to fullback was a tactical issue.
“We know about the Sharks’ kicking game. They kick far‚ they kick high and they kick a lot. If you’re getting involved in that because territory is important‚ having two right-footed players is very tricky‚” Dobson said.
“Every time Jean-Luc has come on at 10‚ we’ve got a certain plan that suits the way he plays and he’s done well. It’s around the kicking game and a couple of other plans that we have.”
Sharks – 15 Aphelele Fassi‚ 14 Sbu Nkosi‚ 13 Lukhanyo Am (capt.)‚ 12 Andre Esterhuizen‚ 11 Makazole Mapimpi‚ 10 Curwin Bosch‚ 9 Louis Schreuder‚ 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe‚ 7 Tyler Paul‚ 6 James Venter‚ 5 Hyron Andrews‚ 4 Ruben van Heerden‚ 3 Thomas du Toit‚ 2 Kerron van Vuuren‚ 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Craig Burden‚ 17 Juan Schoeman‚ 18 John-Hubert Meyer‚ 19 Le Roux Roets‚ 20 Henco Venter‚ 21 Sanele Nohamba‚ 22 Jeremy Ward‚ 23 Madosh Tambwe.
Stormers – 15 Damian Willemse‚ 14 Dillyn Leyds‚ 13 Ruhan Nel‚ 12 Jamie Roberts‚ 11 Seabelo Senatla‚ 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis‚ 9 Herschel Jantjies‚ 8 Juarno Augustus‚ 7 Johan du Toit‚ 6 Ernst van Rhyn‚ 5 JD Schickerling‚ 4 Salmaan Moerat‚ 3 Frans Malherbe‚ 2 Scarra Ntubeni‚ 1 Steven Kitshoff (capt.).
Subs: 16 Chad Solomon‚ 17 Kwenzo Blose‚ 18 Wilco Louw‚ 19 Cobus Wiese‚ 20 Jaco Coetzee‚ 21 Paul de Wet‚ 22 Rikus Pretorius‚ 23 Sergeal Petersen.
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds‚ Divan Uys
TMO: Willie Vos