After two successive victories, the latest a 41-3 defeat of a potentially dangerous Griquas’ side, the Cell C Sharks are lifting the intensity, and with a tough week ahead of us, will look to raise the intensity even more.
“I hope we continue to show consistency now,” said head coach Robert du Preez after the team scored six tries, to go with the previous week’s four against the Pumas.
“It was good, we created a lot of opportunities, but I still think there were a whole lot of them we didn’t convert. But we are getting better at that. It was really tough out there, there’s a lot of dew and the ball gets very wet. Although it may look like it, these are not fantastic playing conditions.”
On evaluating Griquas, he expected more – and different – from them.
“To be fair to them, I said before the game that they’ve been playing some really good rugby and scoring a lot of tries, but I think they’ll agree that this probably wasn’t their best performance.”
Having scored over 40 points in their two previous matches leading up to the clash with the Cell C Sharks, Griquas had shown an ability to pile on the points, but in a match where they were limited to a solitary penalty – just three points – du Preez felt that there was an expectation that Griquas would run the ball more.
“We thought they would play more attacking rugby, but they kicked a lot and I don’t think that worked for them.”
But it wasn’t only due to Griquas failure to score any tries, but also our defence which, in two weeks, has conceded only three points. The pressure put on the visitors clearly played an important role in the victory.
“We’re very happy with our defence and that gives us a lot of confidence going into the next two games.”
Asked about performances from the players, he admitted that it was a good effort from everyone.
“I thought there were a couple of guys who played really well, I thought Jacques Vermeulen was outstanding, he made no mistakes and showed a massive work-rate. I also thought Daniel played well, Thomas du Toit was good, and Man of the Match, and Sbu Nkosi also played well. So there were some really good individual performances.”
The Cell C Sharks showed great continuity on attack and in some of the tries, it took a real team effort that got the reward.
“Our continuity was good,” said du Preez, “and although there were a few tries left out there, we’re happy with the effort on attack.”
This week presents the unusual challenge of playing two matches in the space of three days as the Cell C Sharks visit Pretoria to play the Bulls on Wednesday and the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.
“With the short turnaround time, the match against the Bulls will be a big step up, and whichever Lions side is selected will be a good team; it will be tough.”