In a scrappy semifinal win over Western Province, the Sharks’ top-class defending of the lineout maul was one of the few impressive features of the game … but eighthman Sikhumbuzo Notshe said on Tuesday that they do not want a repeat of that in the Currie Cup final against the Bulls on Saturday.
“It was not ideal to give Western Province a lot of lineouts in our 22, it means our discipline was poor, that’s why we had to defend so many,” Notshe said on Tuesday.
“One has to credit the pack for showing so much resilience and energy to negate those mauls, but if we give away so many penalties against the Bulls then they will kick into the corner and maul us all day. We don’t want another afternoon like that.
“We did our homework though against Western Province, but it’s one thing knowing what the opposition will bring, you still have to go out and stop it. We will still need more of that energy and effort against the Bulls, and we know they have a good set-piece as well.”
The Springbok loose forward said slowing the Bulls’ ball at the breakdowns would also be central to the Sharks’ game-plan this weekend in Pretoria.
“It’s very important to have an impact at the breakdown because that’s how you kill their rhythm on attack, if you can slow the opposition’s ball down then it causes them to lose their rhythm, and it gives a lot of energy to the defence. So it’s very important that we sharpen up on our breakdown work, we need to clean up there because the Bulls have quality loose forwards.”
Getting quick ball would also allow the Sharks to get their exciting backline into play, with Notshe the vital link-man, but he is not too optimistic it is going to be that sort of game.
“I’ll just play the game and if it does open up then it will suit my style, linking between the forwards and backs. But I’ve played in two Currie Cup finals and I’ve never seen the game open up. So I think we’re going to need the tight stuff and I will just try and bring that same energy,” Notshe, formerly of Western Province, said.