The emphatic Vodacom Super Rugby victory the Cell C Sharks inflicted on the Emirates Lions was the culmination of hard work and belief and was hardly a flash in the pan for a team that will look to continue on this trajectory.
“It all came together nicely, for the entire team,” explained Cell C Sharks assistant coach Jaco Pienaar. While it wasn’t officially a tribute match for the record-breaking Beast Mtawarira, it was a fitting acknowledgement of the most-capped Cell C Sharks player of all time.
“Beast has been in very good form, it is an amazing milestone he’s achieved and it showed on Friday what a great player he still is. He means a lot to the team, his attitude and mindset every week is inspirational for his team-mates. He truly leads by example.”
What was the secret behind what happened to make the team click as they did?
“It’s been coming,” he said. “We played some good rugby against the Vodacom Bulls the week before, although the result didn’t go our way, so we knew it was coming, and it did.”
Although it was a fantastic team effort, kudos must go to the youngsters, and in particular hooker Kerron van Vuuren who had something of a baptism of fire against incumbent Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx and more than stood his ground. For a young player of just 23 years old, playing in his first season of Vodacom Super Rugby, he showed maturity and composure beyond his years.
“Kerron has been part of the set-up for a while now, learning the ropes behind some very good hookers in the system and he’s been working very hard. That showed on the field.
“He’s a guy who puts in a lot of hard work, you can see that in his conditioning. The work he puts in off the field shows when he’s on the field. Although he started at hooker, he finished the game at flank, playing the full 80 minutes. He’s a hard worker, there’s no doubt about that.”
Another young forward that Pienaar singled out and who is growing more and more as he gets game time and shows huge commitment to the cause is lock Hyron Andrews who plays in the second row.
“These guys are young as far as caps go, so while they may have been in The Sharks system for a while, they don’t have lots of Vodacom Super Rugby experience. But they’re growing as the season progresses which is exactly what you want to see.”
It’s hard to not be overly enthusiastic about a performance like the Cell C Sharks’ 42-5 victory over the Emirates Lions on Friday night, but the hard work never lets up and Pienaar explained that the trick is to keep to winning ways and never letting the foot off the pedal.
“We always feel that win or lose, there are things we can always do better at, but we acknowledge that there are things we did do well. So the plan is always to try keep the momentum going for the things we’ve done well at, but also working on the areas you need to improve on.”
Putting the emotions of the win behind us, the Cell C Sharks now shift focus to the Jaguares who visit JONSSON KINGS PARK on Saturday afternoon, fresh off an unbelievable fightback and victory over the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus this past weekend.
“We’re excited to be back at home to play the Jaguares,” Pienaar admitted. “We know they’re a quality team, they showed that in the way they came back in the Bulls game on the weekend. They’re close to a full-on international team and we’re expecting them to come to Durban with a lot of confidence after their come-from-behind win on the weekend.”
Although the Jaguares represent Argentina’s best, Pienaar suggested that they are not too dissimilar from playing South African sides. Given that the Cell C Sharks have now played four local derbies, the players will be well-versed in what will come at them on Saturday afternoon.
“They are very much like South African teams with physical forwards, exciting backs and a good set-piece of mauls and scrums.”