The Cell C Sharks team named to play the Sunwolves has a different look about it to last week’s side, but it’s an opportunity for the coaching staff to rotate and keep the team fresh during a long Vodacom Super Rugby campaign.
This is the second consecutive home game for the team at Jonsson KINGS PARK and the players would like nothing better than to secure a convincing win, particularly as we are on the road for four weeks after this match.
“We’ve always said that we want to utilise the strength and depth of our squad and we have to do it, we can’t just talk about it or pay lip service to it,” explained head coach Robert du Preez.
“We believe this is a good opportunity to give the guys a start. Curwin has been there and thereabouts anyway, Mapimpi is back from his rest last week and Tera gets a well deserved start. He’s been part of this union for a long time, he’s very experienced. Wian Vosloo has a start too, he has tremendous potential. He’s very abrasive and a great talent; we would like to see what he can do this weekend. Thomas du Toit has a niggle with his AC Joint and is being rested this weekend, giving John Hubert Meyer an opportunity.
“There is a lot of competition in the team which is a great space to be in.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s clash with the Sunwolves, the focus is all about improving what the team has delivered, much of it not technical fixes.
“Last week was disappointing and the players themselves were very disappointed, we just lacked patience and if we can that right, we will be fine,” the coach pointed out.
“We’re on the cusp of playing really well, I think it’s just a matter of time. We’ve had a great week of training, the boys are energised and looking forward to this match. They want to have a great last game before we travel.”
Although the team want to play running rugby, exciting stuff that heralds lots of scoring opportunities and plenty of tries, the reality is that Durban, in February, is not conducive to an open style.
“People see the sun shining and think we have unbelievable conditions. But it’s difficult to play multi-phase rugby now. Having said that, at times on Saturday, had we shown more patience, having put the phases together and looking dangerous, we could have scored more tries.
“That’s what we’re going to do on Saturday: we’re going to put the phases together.”
While the Sunwolves haven’t won in their opening two matches, there is no discounting the fact that they are a dangerous side who have a strong desire to run the ball, keep the action alive and spread opposition defences thin.
“They’ve been good in both their previous games. They have an excellent coaching staff, they’re a well-coached team with some very experienced players. In last year’s match we only took the game away from them in the last five minutes so we know it’s going to be a very tough game. You can’t underestimate the Sunwolves, not at all.”
Ruan Botha, captain of the Cell C Sharks offered similar sentiments to his coach. This is a match about showing potential.
“The Sunwolves haven’t won a game so far, so they’ll see this as an opportunity to prove they’re not struggling,” he explained. “We still haven’t played the game we want to play and I reckon the Sunwolves will come here with all guns blazing and that’s something we’ve prepared for.
“We’re a dangerous side, if we put the phases together and hold on to the ball, we’ll be ok. We want to play a multi-phase game of rugby.”