We are certainly not looking at this as an easy game. We are going to make sure we prepare correctly and go out there and get the job done.
DURBAN: The respect the Sharks players and management have for Griquas coach Scott Mathie is a major reason why his team will not be taken lightly when the Durbanites visit Kimberley on Friday night for a sixth-round Super Rugby Unlocked encounter.
Mathie earned 47 caps for the Sharks at scrumhalf between 2006 and 2008, the year Sean Everitt began coaching at the Sharks Academy, and he went on to have a much-travelled path with the Blue Bulls, Leeds Carnegie and Sale Sharks before finishing his playing career in 2013 at the Kings in Port Elizabeth.
Mathie moved into coaching and his first big senior role was as an assistant coach to Brent Janse van Vuuren at Griquas in 2019, when the Diamond fielders had an excellent season.
Janse van Vuuren, of course, has since moved on to the Sharks as Everitt’s forwards and defence coach, while Mathie was rewarded with the head coaching role at Griquas.
Before this, Mathie coached at schoolboy level, at Durban High School between 2016 and 2019, where the first XV had one of their best-ever years when Mathie was coaching now current Sharks in Sanele Nohamba and Phepsi Buthelezi. The latter was Mathie’s captain, and yesterday he said he knows Mathie’s capabilities only too well.
“Scott coached me at school and I know how good he is and I also know some of the players at Griquas well,” the 21-year-old said. “I rate them as a proper side. Yes, they have had their ups and downs this season but they are a side with a lot of potential.
“We are certainly not looking at this as an easy game. We are going to make sure we prepare correctly and go out there and get the job done, especially because this is Kimberley and many (fancied) sides have come unstuck there.”
One of the major things the Sharks would have taken out of watching the Stormers dismantle Griquas last week was the home side’s niggly approach to the breakdowns.
It was only when the Cape side got on top in this department in the second half that they generated the momentum that led to their scoring spree.
“They have a very good loose trio, so it’s going to be a tight battle in an area where we have battled a bit with our attacking breakdowns,” Buthelezi observed.
“Their No 6 (Gideon van der Merwe) is very good on the ground. One of our focuses this week is to make sure we are getting in early on the ball carrier, making sure there is no daylight between the supporting cleaners and the ball-carrier.”
The Sharks name their side for the match later on Wednesday and Everitt is expected to freshen up his team after having fielded pretty much the same side for two weeks in a row.