Getting the Result

Although the Cell C Sharks would have fancied their chances against the Sunwolves in their Vodacom Super Rugby clash at  JONSSON KINGS PARK on Saturday, it was always going to be a tricky fixture to pull off a result from.

As it was, three first half tries followed by a further four in the second half delivered a rousing 50 point to 22 victory that gave Cell C Sharks Head coach Robert du Preez a smile afterwards. “It was really important that we go away with a win under our belts to give us confidence for the tour, so I was pleased with the result,” he said after the match.

Although it was a team line-up reflecting a handful of changes to the previous match (drawn with the Waratahs), the coach was happy that the players that were selected did the job for the Cell C Sharks. “I think the guys who have come in have done very well, I was very pleased with their performances which does give us a few pleasurable selection headaches.

“The obvious one is Wian Vosloo who made his run on debut for us and I thought he did very well for us [his reward has been selection for the tour]. There will be one or two selection headaches but it’s always been important that we embrace the bigger squad system. I was happy that the guys were offered opportunities and took them.” Casting his eye back on the match, he explained that, “It was never going to be an easy game but I thought we put the result away in the first 40 minutes. Our forward pack did admirably well, our scrumming was good and I thought our breakdown work was really outstanding.

“But there were still too many opportunities created that we didn’t convert, which is something we’ll continue to work on. We also battled to exit in the first half.” The Cell C Sharks play the Brumbies in our first tour match this weekend, before taking on the Rebels, then heading across the Tasman Sea to take on New Zealand sides, the Blues before finishing the tour against the Hurricanes.

The Rebels are something of a surprise package in the competition, topping the overall Vodacom Super Rugby log with three wins from three starts for a perfect record so far. They’ve beaten the Reds, the Sunwolves and Brumbies and their match against the Cell C Sharks in two weeks’ time will be their first against opposition from outside the Australian Conference.

This weekend’s match is the Brumbies’ first at home after an away win against the Sunwolves before successive away losses to the Reds and Rebels. They are struggling slightly, but it’s still early days in the competition. “The Brumbies can’t be underestimated and we need to build on what we did against the Sunwolves. We saw some glimpses of what this team can do, we’re a work in progress and far from the finished product, so we’ll keep on working hard every day.

“The Rebels are no surprise, they have a very good team,” said the coach. “In fact, there aren’t going to be any easy games, the Reds showed that against the Bulls with a young side and they did very well. That match against the Rebels will be tough, but we are just taking it one game at a time. We still have to go to Canberra and take on the Brumbies.”

As far as improvements go, he said it was all about: “Patience, patience, patience. We need to improve on that. I think our game management needs work, we tried to rush things in the first half, in our own half; we need to be more patient. “But I’m very pleased with the multi-phase play aspect of our game. It’s very difficult to play in Durban at this time of the year, but I thought the guys did really well in that respect, I don’t think there were too many handling errors. We still need to work on our individual decision-making.

“If we get better every game, that will give the individuals confidence and the team confidence, that’s our aim, for constant and consistent improvement.”