The Cell C Sharks will go into our Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Vodacom Bulls at JONSSON KINGS PARK on Saturday in the right frame of mind as the team looks to continue the march towards success.
The two week sojourn in New Zealand might have heralded a win and a loss, but scoring a combined 100+ points over the Blues and Hurricanes is nothing to be sneered at and the team will look to continue the fine form over that fortnight into the next two weeks before the second bye.
“The guys have been fantastic, there’s a great team spirit,” Head coach Robert du Preez said on the eve of the match.
“The boys really turned things around after a tough two weeks in Australia, and although it’s not easy to tour for four weeks, the boys are really up for the challenge ahead.
What makes things that more interesting is the good fortune the coaching staff have had to be able to name an unchanged starting line-up for a third successive week during a period when the team is playing their best rugby of the season.
“That’s fantastic, we have had rotational changes in the earlier games when we wanted to give everyone an opportunity, but we’ve rewarded the guys who have done well for us.”
This week (and the next) is a new phase of the Cell C Sharks’ campaign and the last month is a chapter closed with a new one opening.
“The last game is one we should have won, but it’s all in the past now, it’s history and we have to take things one game at a time. This one, against the Bulls is going to be huge, particularly from a confidence point of view.
“This is a talented team but we need to keep on improving in all aspects. In this tournament, if you’re off your game, you can lose matches by big margins. So we need to have that improving mindset of getting better every day, because the belief is there.”
Although the game could either be an arm-wrestle or one comprising open, exciting rugby, du Preez said that it was all about finding ways to win the game, as the team showed against the Blues.
“You want to score tries in this tournament, that’s a big goal for us, but winning games is the real objective, so if we have to fight it out in the trenches, that’s what we will do,” he explained.
“There’s a lot riding on this game, we just have to stick to and execute our plan, making sure the efficiency and accuracy is there.”
Under John Mitchell, the Bulls have evolved their game into much more of a 15 man style, an attacking style more resonant of New Zealand rugby than the Bulls style of the not too distant past.
“I think they’re playing a good brand of rugby, but this is a good old traditional South African derby, you can’t expect anything less than all out war on the field.”