Hit ‘em low

Dick Muir has lashed out at teams who attempt to slow the Sharks ball at the breakdown and promises the second round of the Absa Currie Cup will see a far more aggressive Durban team.

The Sharks expansive ball-in-hand approach relies on quick clean ball to their backline, and teams have regularly stifled this aspect of their play. This was particularly evident against the Vodacom Cheetahs and Griquas, who shamelessly fell over the ball at ruck time, and was notably unpunished.

“We play a positive brand of rugby,” Muir told Mike Greenaway of The Mercury. “That is clear to everybody, but what is also clear is that teams that play us are not shy to ignore the laws at ruck time in their bid to slow down our ball. In the second round, we will ruck with greater intensity and purpose to ensure that we get quick, clean ball.”

The onus is now with the big men in the pack to impose themselves in this facet of the game and create a platform for their backline to play the running-style rugby their coach says he is yet to see.

Ruan Pienaar and BJ Botha’s Springbok call-ups, mean the Sharks lose two of their form players. Of particular concern will be their lack of a recognised goalkicker in the wake of Pienaar’s departure. Their best options at present are flyhalf Steven Meyer, who fills the role at club level, while Francois Steyn has kicked for the SA U19 side.

The Sharks resume their regular training routine on Monday ahead of their August 19 fixture against the Lions.