Sharks go for the kill

The Sharks are aiming to win the tight matches in this year’s Currie Cup, says flank Jacques Botes.

One of the stars of their Super 14 campaign, Botes believes the Durban boys must keep on improving in the Currie Cup.

“We want to concentrate on winning those close matches,” the Sharks No. 7 told keo.co.za. “We lost a few of the tight ones in the Super 14 which we really should have won [Cheetahs, Crusaders, Brumbies and Hurricanes].”

Dick Muir and his charges will focus on upping their fitness levels over these next few weeks before their Currie Cup kicks off on 23 June against the Lions.

“We now have a good platform to build from, and we are looking to mature into a more complete side,” said Botes.

The Sharks scored 42 tries in their 13 matches of the Super 14 round robin, and were second only to the Crusaders who scored 47, including the semi-final and final. However, Dick Muir’s side leaked 36 tries, and this is probably what cost them a playoff spot.

“We have identified our defence as something that needs to be improved,” Botes admitted, before commenting on possible Springbok selection. Many believed he was worthy of a national call-up in May, but Botes says he just wants to do well for the Sharks.

“It’s not up to me and all I can do is my best in the Currie Cup. Obviously it is a goal to be part of the Springbok team, and as soon as possible with the World Cup next year.”

Botes has been lauded for his hard running and work in the tight-loose, and yet this is only his first season on the blindside flank.

“This year was the first year I played at No 7, and it has been something I have needed to adapt to. I also want to take my ball skills to a new level. I don’t always want to be the one running off a team-mate’s shoulder, I want to be in a position where I can have people running off me.”

By Jon Cardinelli