The Cell C Sharks kick off their 2022 Carling Currie Cup campaign with a mouth-watering clash against Tafel Lager Griquas who they host at Hollywoodbets Kings Park this evening.
Cell C Currie Cup head coach Etienne Fynn has named a strong line-up for this match, providing evidence of the union’s excellent depth. On the eve of the match he pointed out that both his and Sean Everitt’s Vodacom United Rugby Championship squads are training together, giving both coaches access to the best players available.
“Because we haven’t split our squads, we both feel we’re able to field competitive teams in our respective tournaments,” he pointed out.
“Regardless of which of our teams they represent, the players will be representing for The Sharks, a proud union and brand and they will know it’s all about producing their best. Staying together allows us fluidity in terms of team selection and to hopefully be able to pick two quality sides every week.”
In terms of team selection, Fynn explained how the two coaches will be working together to ensure success in both competitions.
“We will select our teams together, but in saying that, Sean will have first selection for the URC. Because we work hand-in-hand, it does allow us a lot more interaction than if we were in two separate camps.”
Casting his eye over the opposition, he acknowledged that Griquas are perennial fighters and there is no underestimating their opponents who have proved to be a thorn in many a side over the years, particularly in recent times.
“They have a new coaching staff set-up and they will bring their own spin on things, but whether you play them here in Durban or in Kimberley, they’re incredibly tough, bruising customers.
“They’re a good side and we know a few of their players well, guys who played their junior rugby at The Sharks. They have their share of experienced players and they will be tough and competitive, and will be out to prove a point.”
A new face in the team is Samoan international OJ Noa and the big flanker will be called upon to meet fire with fire.
“He’s certainly a physical specimen,” said Fynn. “He has lovely silky hands and he can run all day. We’re expecting him to make a major impact on the competition.”
The coached concluded with his thoughts on where the team is ahead of the match and season.
“We’re really looking forward to this campaign, although it is a long and challenging one and there will be ups and downs. “But everyone is aware of the status of the Currie Cup and looking forward to putting in a good effort.”