Sharks

Pietersen wants a try-fest Final

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Sharks speedster JP Pietersen is looking to add to his already impressive try scoring tally in the Super 14 Final when his team play host to the Bulls in Durban on Saturday.

Pietersen has been a major attacking weapon on the wing for the Sharks in this year’s tournament. His reward is a place at the top of the list as the Super 14 leading try scorer – with 11 tries from 14 games.

He is also a tough customer who uses his pace well on defence as he launches his 95kg frame into some crunching tackles.

Unfortunately an injury sustained in the Sharks comprehensive 34-17 Super 14 semi-final win over the Blues last weekend forced the 21-year-old off the pitch in the second half.

Sharks coach Dick Muir said in the team’s press conference that their star winger only had an 80 per cent chance of playing on Saturday.

“My injury is still a bit painful,” Pietersen told this website.

“I’ve got a bruised hip, but my doctor says I’ll be ready to play this weekend.”

Good news for Sharks supporters, bad news for the Bulls.

Equally at home at fullback or on the wing, he is a clinical finisher.

There are some question marks over his handling of the ball, but Pietersen’s deceptive pace and “gliding runs” make him an unpredictable backline player.

His ability to break the line at will and create attacking opportunities for his team has been a major contribution to the Sharks success this year.

“I try every game to score a try. It really keep the fans happy!” enthused Pietersen.

Pietersen certainly remains a firm fan favourite for the unpredictable and exciting dimension his play brings to the team.

And with all these tries getting scored, soon ABSA Stadium will have no choice but to be naming the left hand sides of the park ‘Pietersen’s Corner’!

“I’m building on it,” laughed Pietersen.

“But I wouldn’t be scoring in any game if it weren’t for the hard work the whole team puts in game after game.

“At the end of the day all the tries I score show what the team have put in to get me over that line, not just me.”

It will take another massive team effort to lift the Super 14 trophy in front of the Sharks loyal fans come kick-off for the Durban showpiece. An occasion that Pietersen believes his team are ready for.

“Our guys are ready for anything, we’ve worked so hard in the last six months,” said Pietersen.

“To throw it all away now is just incomprehensible.

“We set ourselves a goal at the start of the season to top the Super 14 table and make the Final.

“We’ve accomplished that and now our next goal is to win. So we are definitely ready.”

Win or lose, South African rugby has already won with two SA teams making the Final for the first time in Super Rugby history.

But Pietersen wants the Sharks name to be engraved on the sought after trophy.

“We want to win, no two ways about it,” said the Sharks youngster.

“We also want to make history, but whatever happens at least the trophy will stay in South Africa.”

Pietersen’s form so far this season has been rewarded by Springbok coach Jake White, being selected to join the South Africa training camp in Bloemfontein the day after the Final.

With a Test match looming less than a fortnight away, the winger must be setting his sights on adding on to his single Springbok cap.

The challenge is going to be an interesting one with Bryan Habana, the Ndungane twins, Breyton Paulse, as well as Francois Steyn all in the running for the number 11 and 14 jerseys.

Perhaps a brace of tries in the Super 14 Final could seal the deal for the cheerful winger.

“Perhaps,” said Pietersen.

“Or maybe even six!”

By Dave Morris  365 Digital

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