The Cell C Sharks are under no illusions as to the challenge that lies ahead when we take on the Blues in Auckland in our third Vodacom Super Rugby tour match and first on New Zealand soil this Saturday.
It has not been the successful tour that was planned following two defeats, but there is a steely determination to put on a commanding performance against the Blues and to get our campaign back on track.
“We are looking forward to what will hopefully be a better result this weekend,” admits Cell C Sharks centre Lukhanyo Am.
For him and his team-mates, putting on a full 80 minute performance is paramount, one that reflects the passages of play that the team has shown regular glimpses of what they are capable of.
“We have the intent and we are able to win games, it’s about showing more patience and not putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves,” he explains.
The Cell C Sharks have always toured well, but he admits that ultimately, it’s about rugby.
“It’s been frustrating, we’re just not getting the results,” he says.
Although the New Zealand sides play a different style of rugby to everyone else, Am is not expecting great differences from the Blues as what they encountered against the Rebels last Friday.
“They will probably bring something similar to how the Rebels played; we know they like to play an open style of rugby, so we’ll try to keep it structured from our side, we don’t want to make the game too loose.”
The Cell C Sharks will know that if the Blues are as effective in their running lines as the Rebels were, it will require a massive and dedicated defensive effort to keep the former champions out. But the game isn’t all about defence and Am admits that the team need to accomplish on attack what they train to do.
“Attacking takes patience and the plan is there not to force passes. It’s all in the finer details that we need to fine tune to play more effectively.”
Right now, the focus is on bouncing back from the two losses. The Blues will not be easy to beat and they are a team, much like the Cell C Sharks, steeped in a proud rugby tradition.
“We need to stick to our guns,” he admits.
“Getting a win out of this weekend is vital for us. We were frustrated and disappointed with the outcome of last week’s match against the Rebels and we’ll be going all out to get a win on Saturday.”