Warren Britz says Kabamba Floors will be the key player for the Vodacom Cheetahs in their semi-final clash.
Floors has been in sensational form recently and will be a constant threat at the breakdown in a game that many expect to be dominated by the forwards.
Britz said he had analysed the the blond Free Stater’s game intensely this season and was very impressed.
“He is a quality player,” Britz told Keo.co.za. “Every team needs a guy who is going to chase down the backs and cause havoc at ruck time like he does. He has great speed between phases making him a really dangerous opensider. We’ll have to stop him from playing.”
The former Sevens star showed he is as much of a threat in the loose as he is in the tight when he crowned a sublime performance against the Pumas with a hat trick of tries.
“His speed is complemented by his strength with ball-in-hand, and when he gets momentum [he] can be a real threat.,” Britz said. “When he plays the Cheetahs definitely have an extra edge.”
The intensity with which the Vodacom Bulls entered the ruck last week seemed to unsettle the Cheetahs and Britz believes there is a lesson to be learnt from that.
“The Bulls were very effective at the rucks against them at Loftus and the breakdown will again be a major focal point in this game. Contrary to what people think, you don’t get that many opportunities to turnover ball because the top teams clean out and protect the ball so well,” he explained, before adding,”that doesn’t mean we won’t fancy ourselves to steal some ball on Saturday.”
Weather forecasts suggest that the game could be marred by torrential thunderstorms, and with the Sharks having beaten Western Province in atrocious conditions in their second round match, Britz believes they’ve got the edge in the wet.
“In South Africa you don’t play in the rain that often so teams find it really hard to adapt. We’ve beaten a quality side like Province in the rain and that really gives us confidence going into this game,” he said.
“It showed that we have the ability to adapt to whatever the game situation demands and that’s just another feather in our cap.”
Modern day rugby dictates that teams undertake a detailed analyses of their opponents, but Britz surprisingly said the Sharks spent very little time in video sessions this week.
“We know what to expect from them and their gameplan won’t hold too many surprises for us. But what makes them dangerous is their cohesiveness as a unit. All fifteen players stick to the plan and are on the same page tactically.”
The Sharks backline have at times looked static and lacked innovation on attack in recent games. And while Britz conceded his concern at the attacking impotence he was assured that they would rectify that situation come Saturday.
“If you look at the backline we have some really young guys there. They’ll gel, I know they will. But the encouraging thing is our defensive record against the Cheetahs.
“In our last two matches against them they haven’t made a linebreak. That’s 160 minutes of rugby without them breaching our defence,” he asserts. “That says something about the backline. And as soon we combine that with good attacking play we’ll be really dangerous.”
By Ryan Vrede
Vodacom Cheetahs: 15 Bevin Fortuin, 14 Phillip Burger, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Hendrik Meyer, 11 Gavin Passens, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Ryno van der Merwe, 7 Darron Nell, 6 Kabamba Floors, 5 Bian Vermaak, 4 Rory Duncan, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Ollie le Roux (c).
Subs: 16 Jaco du Toit, 17 Kobus Calldo, 18 Quinton Davids, 19 Heinrich Brussouw, 20 Falie Oelschig, 21 Gaffie du Toit, 22 Eddie Fredericks.
Sharks: 15 JP Pietersen, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Bradley Barritt, 11 Brent Russell, 10 Francois Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jacques Botes, 6 Warren Britz (c), 5 Johann Muller, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Kees Lensing.
Subs: 16 Skipper Badenhorst, 17 Deon Carstens, 18 Johan Ackermann, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 Scott Mathie, 21 Butch James, 22 Gcobani Bobo