AJ upbeat about dual-squad system

Sharks skipper AJ Venter has reacted positively to Dick Muir’s innovative dual squad system.

The new system will see the Sharks field two different teams, who will each play in two consecutive matches throughout the first round of the Absa Currie Cup.

“Initially where were some questions around the system but now the feeling in the squad is that everyone is getting an opportunity to show what they can do,” Venter told keo.co.za.

Confidence will be high after Saturday’s victory over Vodacom Western Province and the Sharks ‘second side’ will be looking to maintain an unbeaten record with a win over the Pumas this Saturday.

“We have great depth in our ranks in every position. It’s great that we can give youngsters a run at Currie Cup level,” Venter added. “I’m not concerned that any momentum will be lost with the introduction of a new team. I’m sure they’ll be great.”

From a personal point of view the big flanker said he was quite happy to be given a break: “I’ve take quite a few knocks over the last two weeks, so my body needs some rest.”

Venter revealed that Muir was keen to use the system in the Vodacom Super 14 but circumstances prevented him from doing so.

He now sees the system’s introduction as a perfect opportunity for every player in the squad to stake a claim for a run-on start come the second round of the competition.

“There’s nothing a sportsman loves better than getting a chance to prove himself. The guys have been given that chance and those who take it will start in the second round.”

According to Venter the side has a great balance of experience and “really exciting youth” and sees the Absa Currie Cup as the perfect opportunity for the team to grow ahead of another Super 14 campaign.

“By the next Super 14 we are looking to have a side that can really compete. With guys like Brent [Russell], John [Smit] and Percy [Montgomery] back and the experience that these youngsters are getting now, we are reallly excited about the future.”

By Ryan Vrede