The Sharks team will get there ABSA under-19 campaign underway against the Cheetahs on Kingspark at 16:00. It will be the first opportunity for home supporters to have a look at potential future Superugby players and maybe even one or two future Bok stars in the making. At this age-group level the Sharks are known to be slow starters that often improve at a rapid rate and only peak during the second round of the campaign. However despite being one of the best second round teams of 2011, their slow start last year cost them a place in the semi-final. In order to avoid a reoccurrence of the automatically label as a failed season by fans scenario, it is vitally important that the team beats close rivals like the Cheetahs in home matches, something they did not get right in 2011.
Robert du Preez leads the team and is part of a potent backline. Having lost star no.8 Johan Meyer to long-term injury, only the name Morne du Plessis now stands out amongst the forwards for 2011 SBR achievements. This means that a group of largely unknowns in the pack will take to the field tomorrow in the hopes of gradually transforming themselves into household names through notable performances.
The pressure is expected to come in two areas of the game. Firstly the way the pack of forwards copes with the physical demands at this level and secondly how well they kick at goal. At this stage the first area is just still a minor concern while the latter has already proven to be a major weak area.
The Cheetahs have a round one game under the belt in this competition. A surprising 31-32 home defeat at the hands of the often underrated Leopards, who enjoy the support of the Pukke (NWU). That was however in cold, windy conditions in which the Leopards made excellent use of just a few opportunities that came their way, while the Free State team did the opposite. The young Cheetahs lost the ball twice over the try-line and squandered 12 points with the boot.
The Cheetahs coaching staff expects conditions to play into their hands this Friday evening. Their preparation this week has revolved around better execution and accuracy, more continuity and better composure in the strike zone. They have also worked hard at getting their first time tackling percentage up.
This game should be an intense affair. Everything seems to indicate that it will be a close game as well. Definitely worth getting down to the stadium to watch.
SHARKS u19 FREE STATE u19
|Nic Roebeck (Rondebosch)||1||Rudolf Botha (Grey College)|
|Morne du Plessis (Waterkloof)||2||Jacques du Toit (Grey College)|
|Richard Palframan (Rondebosch)||3||Luan de Bruin (Affies)|
|Louis Hazelhurst (George Campbell)||4||JJ Nell (Grey College)|
|Myles Tucker (Rondebosch)||5||Henfred Linde (Marlow)|
|Petrus Uys (Swellendam)||6||Theuns Truter (Jim Fouche)|
|Andrew van Tonder (EG Jansen)||7||Ricky van Straaten (Marlow)|
|Jean Pretorius (Sentraal)||8||Gerhard Olivier (Grey College)|
|Stefan Ungerer (Maritzburg College)||9||Nhlanhla Hlongwane (Louis Botha)|
|Robert du Preez (Kearsney)||10||Jannie Strumpher (Grey College)|
|Alcino Izaacs (Namib HS)||11||Seabelo Senatla (Harmony)|
|Gareth Meikle (Lomagundi)||12||Tertius Kruger (Outeniqua)|
|Tyler Fisher (Westville)||13||Jaco Fourie (Affies)|
|Kotaro Matsushima (Toin Gakven Tokyo)||14||Francois Pretorius (Grey College)|
|Sean Robinson (Waterkloof)||15||Meyer van Tonder (Grey College)|
|Warrick Venter (Selborne)||16||Marco Klopper (Voortrekker (Beth))|
|John-Hubert Meyer (Paul Roos)||17||Hennie Theron (Grey College)|
|David Fisher (Pretoria Boys High)||18||Lyvette Shikwambana (Ben Vorster)|
|Theo Kruger (THS Sasolburg)||19||Shaun Ndinisa (Ben Vorster)|
|Bokkie Carstens (Pau Roos)||20||Sheldon Erasmus (Voortrekker (Beth))|
|Brendon Cope (DHS)||21||Rual Laubscher (Marais Viljoen)|
|Sphu Msutwana (Dale College)||22||Johannes Roos ()|
|23||Ignis Nagel (Boishaai)|