Sharks no longer underdogs

Sharks scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar has returned from the Springbok camp and can’t wait for the first Absa Currie Cup match against the Lions this weekend.

The Sharks used the underdog tag to their advantage brilliantly in the Super 14, but have already been installed as many people’s favourites to take the title this year.

Pienaar believes it is going to be tough though, especially in the opening game on Friday night. “It’s not going to be easy, that’s for sure,” Pienaar told keo.co.za. “We are expecting a tough game. They have made some changes and with Loffie (Lions coach Eugene Eloff) they will have a different approach.”

Pienaar acknowledges that home matches must be won, and won well, if a team hopes to secure a home semi-final. “Home ground advantage is very important and we know we need to get off to a good start on Friday, because the expectation is huge.”

Like many of the top sides in the competition, the Sharks are missing several players on national duty either with the Springboks or the U21′s. “We are confident of our depth and the Lions are also missing some key players. It will take a massive effort from all of us to pull through.”

The Sharks have a reputation now and it is almost certain they will continue trying to grind teams down with their formidable forward unit before unleashing their potent backline, Pienaar included.

By Andrew Hollely