CAPE TOWN – Former Stormers prop Eddie Andrews believes “there will definitely be some needle” in the Super Rugby derby clash between the Sharks and Stormers at Kings Park on Saturday (5.15pm kickoff).
The past couple of seasons have not only seen Western Province and the Sharks contest the last two Currie Cup finals, but it has also seen the exchange of players between the two teams. The most high-profile was, of course, Robert du Preez’s move from Newlands to join the rest of his family at the Shark Tank where his father (Robert) and twin brothers (Jean-Luc and Dan) ply their trade.
“I know a lot of players have moved between the two teams, but Rob du Preez’s move hurts the most. It still rankles with the guys down at Province and the Stormers, especially after he played such a big role in the Sharks winning the Currie Cup final at Newlands last year,” Andrews said.
“It would have been the same the previous year for his father when he won the Currie Cup with Province. So, there’s an extra edge when these two teams meet. There will definitely be needle out there on the park.”
Previous clashes between these two coastal teams have been ferocious, particularly upfront where the two sets of front rows have gone hammer and tongs at each other. This weekend will be no different with the Stormers still boasting a formidable trio, even in the absence of Bok strongman Steven Kitshoff.
Frans Malherbe’s return to Super Rugby provides a formidable anchor, while Wilco Louw remains an impenetrable force. Hookers Bongi Mbonambi and Scarra Ntubeni are fit and firing, while loosehead Ali Vermaak is very under-rated.
The Sharks, meanwhile, will go toe-to-toe with the ever present Tendai Mtawarira on the one side with Coenie Esterhuizen on the other. Sandwiched between them is the try-scoring machine and Sale Sharks bound hooker Akker van der Merwe.
“Any clash between these two teams is decided at the set-piece. Be that scrum time or the lineout,” Andrews said.
“But I am particularly looking forward to the front-row battle.
I think the Stormers have been blessed with some wonderful talent at prop forward recently. Frans offers so much experience and steadiness, and that is always vital in big games.
“I don’t think though there is much to separate him and Wilco, but his experience does count. And there’s Ali who is steady a scrummager. I actually think the Stormers have the edge with Coenie being a retreaded loosehead. It’s going to be a massive contest.