Reflections

Discipline and turn-overs cost the Cell C Sharks in our Vodacom Super Rugby clash with the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus on Saturday as it meant the home side could capitalise on this.

Head Coach Robert du Preez summed it up after the match, saying, “It was another clinical performance from the Vodacom Bulls, they dismantled us, especially in that first 20 minutes; we just couldn’t get going with the penalties we conceded and they got an early lead. That’s how it started.”

He admitted that the Vodacom Bulls game plan of putting points on the board at every opportunity was a plan that proved successful. “It’s really working for them, five penalties brought them 15 points and you’re always going to play catch-up rugby in that case.”

He likened the intensity of the match to a full-blown international, particularly at Loftus, explaining that, “Coming up here for a typical South African derby is always going to be tough, it’s test match rugby.

“The South African derbies are unbelievably physical contests and the team with the most physicality and aggression is going to come out on top. We got beaten up two weeks in a row now and when you don’t get traction upfront then you’re always going to be playing catch-up rugby.”

Analysing the specifics, du Preez identified ball control as an area that let them down. “Handling errors didn’t help our cause, there were just too many turnovers,” he said.

“There were something like 15 of those and that just contributed to us not having possession and giving it to them in the wrong part of the field. The scums were also disappointing, we conceded too many penalties there.”

After four matches and a 50% success rate, the Cell C Sharks coach admitted that, “I think the plan was solid, the last two weeks were very good as far as training goes, but when you come up against a side who are really clinical in their execution and you can’t get going, it’s always going to be difficult.”

Reflecting on inconsistent results after the four rounds of the competition, du Preez admitted that it is something they aren’t happy with.

“After playing well in the first two games and then struggling in the next two, consistency is obviously a concern. But we have a very talented squad and I know we’ll bounce back.”

He added that the Vodacom Bulls are in a good place with Schalk Brits and Duane Vermeulen adding leadership and experience. “And then they have Handré Pollard controlling things from flyhalf; They’ve done really well.”

The Cell C Sharks have a bye week and an opportunity to reflect

“We need to take stock of where we’re at right now. It’s good that the guys can have a week away and then we’ll be back to play the Rebels in Durban.”