Van Zyl: Vodacom WP prepared for tough one
Vodacom Western Province captain Anton van Zyl believes his side should focus on itself rather than concentrating too much on the opponents in Saturday's top-of-the-log Absa Currie Cup clash in Durban.
Vodacom Western Province captain Anton van Zyl has a healthy dose of respect for the Sharks, but he believes his side should focus on itself rather than concentrating too much on the opponents in Saturday's top-of-the-log Absa Currie Cup clash in Durban.

WP will be defending a proud record of six games played and six won against the second-placed home side, who has suffered only one defeat thus far.

Van Zyl said: "It's not so much about focusing on them as it is about focusing on us. It's just going to come down to implementing those systems to the best of our abilities."

He acknowledged the Sharks have a lot of firepower and that they are prepared to sweat for a victory. "There's not a lot one can say because from one to eight, Bok or not, they're a helluva formidable unit.

"We saw that in the Super 14, and having lost their first Currie Cup game versus Griquass, they've dominated every opponent they've come up against since."

This week there was a bit of uncertainty about the fitness of massive loosie Willem Alberts, but Van Zyl said the Sharks have other good players to take them across the advantage line. Alberts has since been declared fit.

"It will be very important for the Sharks that Willem Alberts is fit. They put a lot of emphasis on getting over the advantage line. But they've also got a guy like Keegan Daniel who may not be the same size but his work rate, power and speed also sees him get over the gain line.

"I don't think their game loses too much if he doesn't play because there's a quality guy to take their place."

Coach Allister Coetzee concurred with his captain that WP would have to be at their best to come away with the points from the Shark cage. "When you face a team like the Blue Bulls and Sharks, there's that physicality and the ability to play with that width across the field.

"They have an all-out attacking mindset and they put pace on the ball. They're a momentum-based side and it's important to front up against the physical side but also to make sure we're covered."

Coetzee says the previous encounter between the teams - the Super 14 clash won by the Stormers - has no bearing on the outcome of this meeting. "It's a completely different competition.

"The Sharks were in a difficult position with nothing to gain at that stage of the competition. The motivation will be different this time. It's a top of the table clash which is some motivation, but I'm happy with the way that we've progressed as a side.

"I'm very positive about our team and the plan that we're playing. Both sides have grown, we've learnt lessons and in a nutshell we're well prepared for this fixture."

Teams for Durban:

Vodacom WP: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 JJ Engelbrecht, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Paul Bosch, 11 Frikkie Welsh, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Pieter Louw, 5 Anton van Zyl (capt), 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Wicus Blaauw. Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Buhle Mxunyelwa, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Nick Koster, 20 Conrad Hoffman, 21 Lionel Cronje, 22 Morgan Newman.

Natal Sharks: 15. Louis Ludik, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Stefan Terblanche (capt), 12. Andries Strauss, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Keegan Daniel, 5. Alistair Hargreaves, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Eugene van Staden, 18. Ross Skeate, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Rory Kockott, 21. Monty Dumond, 22. Riaan Swanepoel.

Referee: Lourens vd Merwe

Kick-off: 19h15

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