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Sharks plan to 'Storm' Newlands early on

Ryan Kankowski on the charge for the Sharks

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Article Published: Wednesday 25 July 2012|

Springbok and Sharks forward Ryan Kankowski says that he believes the Sharks will need to make another fast start against the Stormers in their Super Rugby semi-final in Cape Town on Saturday.

The Sharks have started to make a habit in recent matches of making fast starts in big games as in two of their crunch wins over the last three weeks were a result of early points on the scoreboard.

They led the Reds 17-0 in their weekend play-off with the final scoreline reading 30-17, while a 32-10 triumph over the Bulls was set-up by a 20-3 half-time lead.

Earlier this season, they were also 14 points clear of the Stormers at the interval, allowing them to close out a 25-20 win.

"A fast start is massive," Kankowski said. "I think it's very important how you start a game and that's something we've been concentrating on during the later parts of the competition.

"When you let any team in at the beginning, it's very hard to come back at the end. So we've really been focusing on building pressure on the beginning and keeping it."

The 26-year-old has turned his season around dramatically since the June international break, starting all three games for John Plumtree's side.

He had not started a match all year prior to that, with an early season finger injury hampering his progress, followed by a lack of form.

He was still selected by Bok coach Heyneke Meyer for the three-match series against England, outlining his importance to both club and country, and that seems to have rejuvenated him.

"I think we've just started gelling (after the June internationals)," Kankowski said.

"We came back after a nice long break when we had plenty of time to get settled.

"I think the Sharks like making things tough for themselves -- we only play (well) when we are under a bit of pressure and that's the way it's worked out for us.

"So we just have to keep building on that for the rest of the competition."

He said the match at Newlands could be "anyone's game" because of the knock-out nature and he was wary of the line-out threat posed by the Stormers.

"They've got the tallest line-out and have been going really well in the competition," Kankowski said.

"Eben (Etzebeth) and Andries (Bekker) are both brilliant line-out options.

"We've been watching some footage of some of their games and come up with our own plans, so hopefully we can execute them on the weekend."

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