The Sharks begin their defence of the Currie Cup with a home fixture against the Griquas at Kings Park, Durban on Friday night.
Sharks v Griquas, Friday 12th July, Durban, Kick Off 19:15
Weather Forecast: - Durban
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Vusi Msibi, Archie Sehlako
Television match official: Christie du Preez
The Sharks come into the tournament as the defending champions having beaten Western Province in the 2018 final at Cape Town. Their only defeat last season had come at Newlands in Round 6 as they finished with a record of 5 wins and 1 defeat before seeing off the Lions 33-24 in a home semi. Home games in the regular season saw the Sharks beat the Bulls 26-10, the Pumas 28-12 and the Lions 37-21.
Sean Everitt is head coach of the Currie Cup side this season and the Sharks have included 10 players who were involved in the Super Rugby quarter final defeat to the Brumbies last month.
Future Fixtures: R2 Western Province (h), R3 bye, R4 Pumas (a), R5 Cheetahs (h), R6 Lions (a), R7 Blue Bulls (a),
The Griquas won just 1 match last season and that came at home to the Cheetahs who finished with the wooden spoon. They were involved in a number of high scoring games in 2018 and they had all sorts of problems defensively, conceding a total of 37 tries and 252 points in finishing sixth of the seven teams. When travelling in 2018 Griquas lost at the Pumas 42-19, the Lions 62-41 and Western Province 38-12.
This season the Griquas did win the recently concluded Supersport Rugby Challenge, beating the Pumas in the final.
Future Fixtures: R2 Pumas (h), R3 Cheetahs (a), R4 Blue Bulls (a), R5 bye, R6 Western Province (h), R7 Lions (h),
Recent Head to Head
2018 Griquas 11-41 Sharks
2017 Griquas 22-40 Sharks
2017 Sharks 41-3 Griquas
2016 Sharks 46-24 Griquas
2015 Griquas 20-45 Sharks
2014 Sharks 18-21 Griquas
2014 Griquas 24-31 Sharks
2013 Griquas 24-25 Sharks
2013 Sharks 30-32 Griquas
Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Jeremy Ward (co-captain), 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Tera Mtembu (co-captain), 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Luke Stringer, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Juan Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Phepsi Buthelezi, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Rhyno Smith
Griquas: 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Andre Swarts, 11 Enver Brandt, 10 George Whitehead (captain), 9 Zak Burger, 8 Neill Jordaan, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 Abraham le Roux, 1 Khwezi Mona.
Replacements: 16 Wilmar Arnoldi, 17 Mox Moxili, 18 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 19 Johan Momsen, 20 Denzel Hill, 21 Chriswill September, 22 Tinus de Beer, 23 Eduan Keyter.
Sharks -14.5 points 9/10 WSB
Griquas +14.5 points 19/20 Betway
Note, odds quoted are correct at the time of last update but are subject to change.
Griquas will take heart from success in the Super Rugby Challenge but they come up against a Sharks side containing a number of Super Rugby players so it looks a big ask to keep the defending champions in range.
The Sharks will have aspirations of topping the log and home advantage for as long as they stay in the play offs and that might require at least 5 wins out of 6. Looking at recent history the Sharks would have covered this handicap in each of the last 5 meetings with Griquas and 3 of those were staged in Kimberley. I don’t think the Sharks will slip up here and whilst I’m a little cautious about the handicap I will go with a conservative minus call.
Bet: 2 units, Sharks -14.5 points 9/10 WSB
(Unit scale 1-5)
Remember you can have your own say on all this week’s matches on our discussion forum