A Game of two Halves

The Cell C Sharks were full value for our 28-12 Currie Cup victory over the Pumas during a strong showing in the second half, but the team will know that they will in future need to back that up in the first half.

Captain Chiliboy Ralepelle admitted after the match that they weren’t tidy enough in the first half, but mistakes were cut out in the second half which allowed us to take the game away after a half-time deficit, scoring three unanswered tries and keeping the visiting Pumas scoreless.

“The first half was not good at all, everyone will agree with that; it was really poor,” said head coach Robert du Preez.

“We just couldn’t hang on to the ball, there were too many individual errors.

“But I thought the second half was really good. When we started hanging on to the ball and getting through the phases, that made it much easier for ourselves.”

After the Free State clash, du Preez highlighted patience as an area that let the side down and something to work on. But, as he pointed out, when the team does show composure on attack and doesn’t force matters, then they get rewarded.

“I’ve said it many times, when the team is patient, things happen. We’re going to have to strive to keep our patience.”

In two weeks’ time the Cell C Sharks host the Lions in a potential table-topping clash to establish early pace-setters in the competition, although this Saturday’s match between the unbeaten Lions and Western Province will also go a long way in establishing the winning trend.

As the log currently stands, the three unbeaten sides (Lions, Cell C Sharks and Western Province) occupy positions one, two and four, with the Blue Bulls, in third but with two losses in their four outings.

Western Province have played just twice, having enjoyed both of their regulation byes to date, while the Lions and Cell C Sharks, both with 15 points from their three games are separated on the log by points’ difference.

The Bulls are currently a dark horse in the competition, but one more loss could prove detrimental to their campaign, while the three other unbeaten sides look likely semi-finalists.

Free State, with the majority of their squad on active Pro 14 duty, occupy bottom spot with four losses from four outings and just two log points, consigning them out of the knock-out rounds.