Rugby 15.3.2014 12:00 am

White pinpoints halfback threat

DANGER. The Sharks will have to keep a close eye on Reds scrumhalf Will Genia in tonight's Super Rugby match in Durban. Picture: Gallo Images.

DANGER. The Sharks will have to keep a close eye on Reds scrumhalf Will Genia in tonight's Super Rugby match in Durban. Picture: Gallo Images.

Despite it being one of the most hackneyed areas to focus on, Sharks director of rugby Jake White has pinpointed the threat of opposition halfbacks Will Genia and Quade Cooper when his side faces the Reds in a Super Rugby clash at Kings Park this aftenoon.

The logic is customarily sound.

“There is no doubt that the consistent theme to winning this competition is having good 9s and 10s,” said White.

“When the Reds won this competition in 2011, those two were on fire. But they were young and are now more experienced. The challenges are there, we have to make sure we step up to the plate.”

To be honest though, the Aussie duo still tends to be rather mercurial, but for a side now saddled with unprecedented high expectations – yes, it’s become that big – there’s simply no scope for taking chances.

In order then to cage the pair, White hopes to resort to a basic, but trusty approach.

“We know that the only way to put pressure on 9 and 10 is to make sure you do your job in the forwards,” he noted.

“It’s simple – pressure gets applied by the forwards and we have to make sure we don’t give them time and space to play because if you do, they can carve you to pieces.”

However, despite the continued experience White has at his disposal up front, one area that could be vulnerable is the lineout, where young Stephan Lewies has been thrust into marshalling the set-pieces following Pieter-Steph du Toit’s earlier withdrawal.

Lewies’ main concern is direct opponent James Horwill, whose offensive abilities are well-documented.

“Stephan and Pieter-Steph are moulding themselves into the role of making the right calls. We work on our lineouts every week as well as the scrums. The set-piece is really important,” said skipper Bismarck du Plessis.

“James is hugely influential. We’ll need to keep an eye on him in the set-pieces.”

Even if it seems like a case of Sharks forward power versus Reds creativity, the return of Pat Lambie evens the stakes at the back.

“As much as Frans Steyn did a relatively good job last week, he wasn’t a 10 and it was a bit of a disruption in terms of the way we attacked,” said White.

 

 

 

 

 

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