Cape Town – It may only be a pre-season warm-up match, but Sharks coach Sean Everitt says there are no ‘friendlies’ in rugby as he prepares for Sunday’s clash against the Stormers at FNB Stadium.
In what is their final preparations for the 2020 Super Rugby seasons, both sides will be looking at this as an opportunity to get some much-needed game time under the belts for some key players.
Stormers coach John Dobson has already confirmed that he will field most of his returning Springboks in the match, while Everitt also expected Sunday’s clash to be high in quality and intensity.
“There are no ‘friendly’ games in rugby, just no log points,” he told media in Durban.
“The intensity is something that we’ve worked on. We want a high work rate and a lot of energy, and that’s what we want the crowds to judge us on.
“I think it will be an unforgiving game.”
Everitt, like Dobson, has had to manage integrating his returning Springboks into the set-up during pre-season.
“The Springboks returned to training late in December and they haven’t done any contact work,” he said.
“We’ve kept them out of that due to their work loads earlier in 2019. We’ve eased them back in.
“We’ve been working hard with them over the last couple of weeks, so they should be game ready.
“The players that you will see on Sunday are the players that will be taking part in Super Rugby 2020, so it’s a big day for everyone.”
Everitt also confirmed that Marius Louw would be back in his more familiar position of centre having enjoyed a run at openside flank against Russia this past weekend.
“We gave Marius Louw a run at openside flank, and that was my idea,” said Everitt.
“I’ve known Marius from school days and he was the SA Schools openside flanker.
“He came to the Sharks as an openside flanker and over the years we probably haven’t selected out and out fetchers, probably since Marcell Coetzee left.
“Marius, with his experience as an openside flanker, we thought he could add a different dynamic and he actually played very well, but this week he’ll be running out at centre.”
Sunday’s clash kicks off at 13:00 and will be followed by the Bulls v Lions at 15:15.
– Compiled by Lloyd Burnard