The Cell Sharks will look back at the Vodacom Super Rugby loss against the Brumbies on Saturday with a mixture of disappointment and disbelief at missed opportunities that denied them a better result.
The first tour match of a four week trip to Australia and New Zealand was always going to take on vital importance, to set the tone for the remaining action, and the team know they will need to put the result behind them if they hope to crack on from this.
“I think we really battled to get into the game, especially in the first half,” head coach Robert du Preez explained after a match in which we were always chasing the score, a job made even more difficult with the lack of ball possession. It was an uncharacteristic display given the outstanding effort the previous week against the Sunwolves at JONSSON KINGS PARK.
“We didn’t start well and didn’t have any possession in the first half and very little territory. Then our discipline let us down when we gave away three penalties in the first seven minutes.”
The Brumbies came into the match with determination, having lost their previous two games, and despite making substantial changes against the Cell C Sharks, managed to pull off what was, for them, a much-needed win.
“They’ve lost a couple of games, they were back at home and we knew there would be a big backlash from them,” said du Preez of the Cell C Sharks expectation of a big match from the Brumbies.
“That’s exactly what we got. They were desperate to win, they played really well, so well done on a good performance from them.
“We are very disappointed, but we hung in there right to the death, we’ll take that as a positive, although it’s the only one for me at this stage. We could have drawn the game but we’re not happy with our performance.”
Captain Ruan Botha pointed at an outstanding forward effort from the Brumbies that laid the platform for their victory.
“Hats off to them, they had a good set-piece at scrums and lineouts, we knew they’d bring it,” he said.
“They were desperate to win, especially getting one at home and they played well, played very good rugby against us. When they were down to 14 men, we really needed to take our opportunities to score.”
The Cell C Sharks now prepare for the match against the Rebels in Melbourne this Friday morning, kicking off at 10.45am.