The Cell C Sharks Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Kings in Port Elizabeth is shaping up to be a huge clash.
For the Cell C Sharks, a win on Saturday would give them a run of five over the Kings, while the home side will be searching for their third consecutive victory during a run of very good form of late.
Saturday’s 5.15pm clash is certainly exciting one of our players, captain Pat Lambie, who starts his first game since the Waratahs in week three.
“It’s great to be back,” he admits, “it’s never nice to be sitting watching from the side-lines, although thankfully it went relatively quickly and it’s been fantastic to be back with the team over the last couple of weeks.”
And watching from the side of the field, he’s ideally placed to summarise the team’s fortunes in his absence.
“There have been some good weeks and some not so good weeks, but all in all I’m pleased to see how the side’s been tracking.”
The last few weeks have been productive and the next few will hopefully remain on that track.
“We gave ourselves a good chance at a bonus point last week in a good performance against the Force, so what we want at this stage is to build some nice momentum before the June break,” Lambie explains.
“We have some tough games ahead, but if we put in good performances, we’ll be sitting in a really good position by then.”
Head coach Robert du Preez knows just how big an ask his charges face against the Kings who would love nothing better than get one over their coastal rivals.
“It’s going to be really tough down there, the Kings have been playing very good rugby, but we’re going to PE to do a job and that’s to bring the four points back,” he explains.
One Kings player earning plenty of praise is former Cell C Sharks age group flank Chris Cloete who has become something of a cult hero for the Kings supporters, a real danger to opposition teams, especially around the tackle area, with his poaching ability sublime.
He will look to create havoc and we will have to contain him.
“He’s tough, he’s strong on the ball and we’re going to have to take care of him properly, to eliminate him as a threat at the break-down. In saying that, we’ll play our game.”
Port Elizabeth is very excited and the game is being hyped up with a call to fill the stadium against the Cell C Sharks.
“That’s fantastic for rugby. It’s a region with a proud history and it’s awesome to see and to know there are going to be a lot of spectators on Saturday. It’s always nice to play in front of a big crowd.”
Feeding off turnovers and broken play is the Kings bread and butter and something we will have to watch out for.
“That’s exactly how they play, they’re a really good side with some very good rugby players,” says du Preez who expects the game to be hotly contested.
Pat Lambie has the final say on the heated battles that we can expect to see being engaged between two highly competitive sides.
“We’ll leave the fiery stuff up to the forwards!” he says with a laugh.
“It’s important that we all maintain calm heads and keep our cool. We have a job to do with a focus on playing hard and fair. We know that they are going to be up for it, especially with the expectation of a big turnout of fans. Hopefully that atmosphere is something we can draw on as well.”