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Jacques Botes

Jacques Botes

Jacques Botes

Fortunately for the Cell C Sharks they have a good chance of redeeming themselves when they host struggling GWK Griquas in Durban this coming weekend, but the warning lights are flickering for the Absa Currie Cup champions.

There were excuses aplenty for the Sharks coaches after their 32-22 defeat to the Steval Pumas in Nelspruit in round four, and some of them were legitimate. Injuries did during the course of the game decimate their pack.

And let’s also not take anything away from the Pumas, who have been strong at home this season and also pushed the Sharks in the first round game much more than the final scoreline would suggest.

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Jacques Botes

Personal milestone: Jacques Botes – 150 Currie Cup Caps

Veteran Sharks flank Jacques Botes will break new ground in the Currie Cup on Friday as he extends his appearance record to 150 matches, which will make him the first player to reach this milestone.

Botes will mark this achievement against the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday — the team he first represented in the competition.

He made his provincial debut for the Pumas in 2002 and remained at the union until 2004 before joining the Sharks in 2005. Sharks coach Brad Mcleod-Henderson has handed scrumhalf Conrad Hoffmann his first start, while Springbok lock Stephan Lewies continues his return from injury off the bench.

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Jacques Botes

Jacques Botes

Veteran forward Jacques Botes is confident the Sharks can defend their Absa Currie Cup crown, despite the prospect of having a vastly inexperienced squad when the competition kicks off this week.

None of the Durban side’s Springboks will be available for the competition, while several experienced campaigners like Charl McLeod, Anton Bresler and Jean Deysel have left to continue their careers overseas.

“I think some people are blowing that (inexperience factor) a little bit out of proportion,” 33-year-old Botes said on Wednesday.

“We have got a young group definitely with a couple of older guys.”

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Marcell Coetzee

Marcell Coetzee

Jake white has selected exactly the same team as last week that defeated the Blues in Auckland, thus taking no chances.

There was speculation of injuries and half-injuries and it was suggested that the injured players are Bismark du Plessis, Willem Alberts, Francois Steyn and S’Bura Sithole, yet they are all fit and ready for Saturday’s showdown with the ever improving Stormers at Growthpoint Kings P{ark  Stadium in Durban.

The only change made, is that of  Marcell Coetzee who returns from injury in place of Jacques Botes who drops out of the squad.

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SharksThis is the fourth article in the series of Cell C Sharks Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2014. We do 2 articles per week per South African Super Rugby participating franchise.

We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.

In this Article we look at the contenders for LOOSE FORWARDS in the Cell C Sharks 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.

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Jacques BotesKeegan DanielSharks flank Jacques Botes will equal the record for the most Currie Cup matches played when he runs out to face the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Friday (19:10 kick-off).

Botes was on Wednesday included in the Sharks starting team and will equal former Free State centre Helgard Muller on 142 Currie Cup games.

He has played 115 games for the Sharks and 26 for the Pumas.

Sharks skipper Keegan Daniel will also achieve a milestone by playing in his 100th Currie Cup game for the union.

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SharksIn this Article we look at the contenders for LOOSE FORWARDS at the Sharks 2013 Super Rugby group.

Loose Forward is a set of 3 positions where the Sharks have abundance of, but much will depend on the coaching staff’s game plans and which combinations to use accordingly and as we have seen with John Plumtree, you could very well see someone like Willem Alberts playing a game or two at lock.

But before I continue, let me get this out of the way first! The biggest problem at the Sharks at Loose Forward is the lack of a FETCHER and as many great Loose Forwards that they have, not having a fetcher is that one huge weakness. All one has to do is look back at the Currie Cup Final of 2012 and see how it hurt them as a team, specially with Bismarck du Plessis being out injured, because it is common knowledge that Bismarck du Plessis fulfills that role for the Sharks.

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