Sharks to rain on Rassie’s parade

Inclement weather in Bloemfontein on Saturday could play to the Sharks favour.

Their preparation this week has been marred by torrential rainfall in Durban while the Vodacom Cheetahs have trained in glorious sunshine.

But a forecast of 60% chance of thundershowers during Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup semi-final could force Rassie Erasmus’ hand and he has suggested that he is considering replacing his fleet-footed backline runners for those with a superior kicking game.

Dick Muir though was adamant that his game plan will not be determined by the prevailing weather conditions.

“Rain or shine – it is all the same to us,” Muir told Mike Greenaway of The Mercury. “We have got a specific plan for this game and we will be sticking to it no matter the weather. We have had our share of rain this week, but it has not affected our training in the least. Our preparations are going perfectly. We have nothing to complain about.”

Their previous encounter a fortnight ago was played in clear conditions, yet both teams adopted a kicking strategy and rushed up on defence in an attempt in transfer pressure onto their opponents and hopefully force errors.

The impression that the players and coaching staff have created this week is that they are unlikely to veer to far from that strategy again and we could well see both teams kicking tactically off second and third phase.

The Sharks have failed to win in Bloemfontein in seven attempts, and have already lost thrice to the Cheetahs this year. Muir concedes his side face an arduous task but stated vehemently that they were braced for the challenge.

“We have not beaten Free State since 2003 (when Kevin Putt’s team won in Bloemfontein), so why wouldn’t we be the underdogs?” asked Muir.

“It is a mammoth task but we very much believe we can beat them. We want to win the Currie Cup. It is true that to do that we have to win away from home, but I have always said to the guys that to win the race, you have to be in it, and we are very much in it.”