Rugby news from KwaZulu-Natal:
Huge Test Ahead:
It’s top vs bottom as the Cell C Sharks travel to Tafel Lager Park in Kimberley to take on Griquas in our return leg clash Currie Cup match this Friday afternoon (5pm kick-off).
Seven wins in a row mean the Cell C Sharks have strengthened our position at the top of the Currie Cup log, but with four matches of the pool stages still remaining, there is plenty to play for, particularly this week, our final away game before a run of three home matches at Growthpoint KINGS PARK to close out the regular season before the knock-out rounds. It’s now time for our players to make the step-up and to play to their full potential.
Despite losing in the first round, Griquas are always dangerous opposition, particularly at home.
We earned a 41-3 victory in the first round thanks to six tries scored, four of them in a dominant second half showing which has been a hallmark of our team’s play this campaign, but it will be much harder this time round.
Head coach Robert du Preez has made a number of changes for this clash, bringing in Juan Schoeman and Franco Marais for Thomas du Toit and Akker van der Merwe in the front row, with Jean Droste in for Tyler Paul at lock, the latter shifting to flank in place of Jacques Vermeulen.
In the backline, Marius Louw replaces Lukhanyo Am and finally, Odwa Ndungane is in for Tythan Adams.
Centre Jeremy Ward has warned that this match is going to be a real tester for his side in their quest for an eighth straight victory.
“Defence is an important part of our game, it’s something we work very hard around because we pride ourselves on keeping opposition teams out.”
Although our record currently standing at seven wins in a row provides lots of comfort, there is no feeling of over-confidence in the team; keeping our feet on the ground and heads out of lofty clouds is vital.
“There is some confidence because of our good run, but we are a humble team, something driven by our captain every day,” he explained. “So we’re all about taking it one game at a time, our emphasis this season has been on working every day to make sure that whoever we face on the weekend, we can bring out the best in each other.
“It’s important that we focus on setting our own standards and sticking to them, regardless of the opposition and we know it’s going to be really tough against Griquas on Friday. They’ve taken a few big scalps already, so we know they’re going to be fired up for the game. We know we’re in for a big one, but we are certainly up for it.
“Griquas are a very direct team, they like to take it up, they like to get their forwards involved. Once they get momentum, they can be very dangerous, so our task is to stop that momentum which is where our defence comes in.
“If we can stick to our structures and when we get our opportunities, then we need to close them out.”
|The Cell C Sharks
|1||Juan Schoeman||16||Akker van der Merwe|
|2||Franco Marais||17||Thomas du Toit|
|3||Ross Geldenhuys||18||Hyron Andrews|
|4||Jean Droste||19||Wian Vosloo|
|5||Ruan Botha (Captain)||20||Michael Claassens|
|6||Keegan Daniel||21||Tristan Blewett|
|7||Tyler Paul||22||Inny Radebe|