Champions Cup: Andre Esterhuizen expecting a thrilling battle of the centres against the Sharks

Harlequins star Andre Esterhuizen looks on during a game. Credit: Alamy
Harlequins star Andre Esterhuizen looks on during a game. Credit: Alamy

Harlequins centre Andre Esterhuizen is relishing the upcoming battle in the midfield when his side faces the Sharks in the Champions Cup this weekend.

The Premiership side will be desperate to grab a win and qualify for the last 16, with the Sharks already having booked their spot in the knockouts.

Battle in the middle of the park

Esterhuizen, formerly of the Sharks, is expecting a massive match-up in the centres this weekend as Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Lukhanyo Am are likely to start for the Durban side.

Although the towering centre has played more with Am, he has still faced Janse van Rensburg on several occasions in both South Africa and England. Esterhuizen is under no illusion of the challenge ahead of him.

“Obviously, two great players, I have played a lot more with Lukhanyo and a lot of times against Rohan. Obviously, Rohan is a hard, physical runner and is good in defence. He loves making spot tackles and stuff like that. So I know the challenge coming on that side,” Esterhuizen said to the media.

“Then there is Lukhanyo who is also a magic player. He can also make something out of nothing is just one of those great players that has a lot of attributes and uses all of them in a game.

“So yeah, he has pace, hands and everything. So we’ll see what it brings this weekend. Hopefully I can climb in his head a little bit and talk him out of the game a bit,” laughed Esterhuizen

Faith in Marchant

When asked how Quins plan to deal with the danger of Am, Esterhuizen claimed the focus is on their team only.

The South African also threw his support behind his centre partner Joe Marchant and predicted an enthralling battle in the 13 channel.

“Obviously this weekend I think we’ve put the focus more on us. We want to get better as a team. We’re not really focusing on the other team,” he said.

“If we get ourselves as ready as possible, then we are on a good track. So yes, Joe (Marchant) will be defending Lukhanyo but in saying that, he is also international, and he has great defence.

“So I think it’s going to be a good battle in the 13 jersey.”

Impressed with the Sharks

The Springbok admits the Sharks have impressed him in getting their high-powered squad to gel as they sit in second spot in Pool A with three wins in as many games in the Champions Cup.

Esterhuizen expects typical South African physicality this weekend in what is sure to be a fascinating game.

“I think they’ve shown everyone that they are playing well as a team. So yeah, they have surprised me a bit. But yeah, it’s going to be an honest, physical battle. We know South African rugby, they’re always up for it. So we need to be up for it as well.”

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