Sharks still dangerous, says 'Tahs coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks still dangerous, says 'Tahs coach

By Adrian Warren 05/05/2009 05:41:02 PM Comments (0)

NSW Waratahs' coach Chris Hickey doubts his team will be advantaged by the absence of two Sharks backline stars in Saturday's Super 14 rugby crunch match in Durban.

Hickey travelled to Durban ahead of his team to watch the Sharks play the Highlanders last Saturday and found few areas of potential weakness.

The fourth placed Sharks, who are one spot and three points above the Waratahs, will be without suspended halfback Rory Kockott and injured back Francois Steyn.

Kockott is the second highest scorer in this season's competition while the mercurial Steyn is capable of splitting any defence with his running and pot drop goals from up to 60 metres.

The Sharks backline however is likely to be boosted by a longer contribution from halfback Ruan Pienaar, who Hickey said played around 20 to 25 minutes against the Highlanders after returning from a knee injury.

"The reality is the depth of rugby here is that whoever they pick to replace those two players will be two good players - it doesn't give you any advantage at all," Hickey said,

"There's not too many areas of weakness there, I can assure you.

"They've got a very good scrum and they put the Highlanders scrum under a lot of pressure.

"They've got a good lineout and some players around the park who can really take advantage of opportunities.

"They've got some really good backs and plenty of speed out wide, so that's a pretty well balanced side."

Hickey was confident his team could maintain its strong set piece form against a formidable Springbok-studded pack.

"Our scrum has performed well for us all year as has our lineout so we are hopeful we will get our share of possession from those contests and hopefully also be able to pressure their possession, so that they can't necessarily play the way they would like."

Hickey expected to finalise his side on either Wednesday or Thursday after checking on the fitness of four players, winger Lote Tuqiri (knee), hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau (ankle), centre Rob Horne (hamstring) and utility back Sam Norton-Knight (back).

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