Terblanche wary of Crusaders
June 23, 2011
The evergreen Terblanche has enjoyed another successful season at the highest level © Getty Images
Sharks captain Stefan Terblanche hopes to nullify the threat of the Crusaders' formidable centre partnership when the two sides meet in a Super Rugby showdown on Saturday.
The out-of-contract 35-year-old, who is bracing himself for what may be his final Super Rugby game, is well versed in the threat posed by Sonny Bill Williams and Robbie Fruean following the Sharks' 44-28 mauling at Twickenham in March and is determined to stop them stealing the show this time around.
"They were making the headlines when we played them at Twickenham and they are still making the headlines now a couple of months down the line," Terblanche said. "They are a good pairing. They're tough, they're big, they're strong, they're fast. You know, they have all the skills to offload in the tackle so we know we are going to have our hands full."
Terblanche, who made his Super Rugby bow in 1998 against the Blues, remembers the Sharks semi-final against the Crusaders 13 years ago. Despite the result, the Crusaders won 36-32, he remembers that match fondly. "It was still one of the nicest games of rugby I ever played in because it was hard, it was fast, it was clean and it was as tough as they come. Even though we lost I still have fond memories of that game."
The Sharks have made just one change to the starting XV for Saturday's match from the side which faced the Bulls. Willem Alberts will start at No.8 in place of Ryan Kankowski. There are two changes to the bench with Eugene van Staden and Jacques Botes coming in for Wiehahn Herbst and Marcell Coetzee respectively.
The Sharks will hope the match does not follow the usual pattern between the two sides. The Crusaders have had the measure of the Sharks throughout Super Rugby history, having won 13 and drawing one of their 17 matches. The Sharks have won only once in the last seven years and that 27-26 victory in Durban in 2007 came from a runaway try from Odwa Ndungane and a sideline conversion in injury time.
Sharks coach John Plumtree will look to nullify the Crusaders' scrum and will hope the mercurial Frederic Michalak can control the game from pivot. "The foundation of their game is built around their scrum, they're a good scrummaging side so we need to scrum really well against them and if we can look after them defensively and look after their scrum, then anything can happen," Plumtree said. "They have a very short front row and they scrum low and while we have a pretty good front row ourselves, we will need to scrum a lot better than we did against the Bulls, that is a big area for us.
"We have the forward pack that can compete and that's going to be key if it's wet and cold there. Frederic Michalak can control the game and we have Pat's (Lambie) kicking game at the back as well, so as long as we defend really well and our set piece functions and we make sure that territory is in our favour, you never know."
Sharks: Patrick Lambie, JP Pietersen, Stefan Terblanche (Captain), Meyer Bosman, Lwazi Mvovo, Frederic Michalak, Charl McLeod; Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Gerhard Mostert, Keegan Daniel, Jean Deysel, Willem Alberts
Replacements: John Smit, Eugene van Staden, Ross Skeate, Ryan Kankowski, Jacques Botes, Adrian Jacobs, Louis Ludik
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