Both sides have endured a three-week break after their scheduled round-robin meeting was called off in line with pandemic protocols.
Countering the WP pack
Lukhanyo Am will lead the Sharks who will be eager to match their hosts up front. The Sharks have struggled in the setpiece in the absence of Springbok prop Thomas du Toit but the enforced break now means they have a fully fit squad to choose from.
Am, in the lead-up to the game, admitted: “The delay was a blessing in disguise, giving teams a longer period to prepare for the semi-finals and to sharpen up on the issues that needed to be improved upon.”
He added that he didn’t believe there would be a break in their momentum, saying: “With the group we have that’s been together for a long time, missing a week isn’t something that we feel will bite us. It happens normally in season and I still believe it came at the perfect time.”
The match has been billed as pitting an exciting Sharks’ backline against a dominant Western Province pack and skipper Am felt that both sides will be looking to counter their opponents’ strengths.
“We know what Western Province’s strengths are in terms of set-piece dominance, they’ve proven it throughout the comp, so from our side, we’ve been working on us mainly, to try strengthen any parts we feel need working on.
“If we’re able to get our own set-piece going and challenge them on theirs, I think it will be a very exciting game to watch.”
The match could be the last that Western Province play at Newlands with the hosts needing to win and see the Lions beat the Bulls at Loftus to ensure a final played at the famous venue. The Sharks only hope of a home final is a win for the Lions.
1. Ox Nche
2. Fezokuhle Mbatha
3. Thomas du Toit
4. JJ van der Mescht
5. Ruben van Heerden
6. Dylan Richardson
7. Henco Venter
8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe
9. Sanele Nohamba
10. Curwin Bosch
11. Yaw Penxe
12. Marius Louw
13. Lukhanyo Am (c)
14. Sbu Nkosi
15. Aphelele Fassi
16. Dan Jooste
17. Mzamo Majola
18. Michael Kumbirai
19. Hyron Andrews
20. Thembelani Bholi
21. Jaden Hendrikse
22. Jeremy Ward
23. Manie Libbok
Western Province vs Sharks – Match information
Date: Saturday, 23 January 2021
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Cwengile Jadezweni and Aimee Barrett-Theron
TMO: Stuart Berry
TV: SuperSport Grandstand and Rugby