The Cell C Sharks return from our bye with a fresh sense of purpose and understanding of what is required during the second half of the shortened version of the Currie Cup, when the take on the Xerox Golden Lions on Saturday at JONSSON KINGS PARK.
A 100% success rate in our opening three games to date has set us up nicely for a top four finish, but the team will look to improve even further in the final straight ahead of the knock-outs.
Wins over Free State, the Blue Bulls and Pumas have delivered maximum log points thanks to the bonus point victories in all three matches, with clashes against the Golden Lions, Western Province and finally Griquas still to come.
The bye week had the unfortunate consequence of allowing other teams in the competition to progress up the log which has sent the Cell C Sharks into fourth position, but a healthy seven points above fifth-placed Griquas who still have a mathematical chance of making it to the quarters, albeit with only two more games of the competition left.
Our clash in the final weekend of the pool stages with Griquas could be the latter’s knock-out game in itself as they look to finish in the top four.
Western Province were in a dominant mood on the weekend as they dispatched the Golden Lions 65-38 in a high-scoring Currie Cup match, although they still trail the second-placed Lions by a log point. The Blue Bulls accounted for the Pumas 39-29 to retain top spot on the log, but like the Lions, have also played four of their six matches in the pool stages.
Western Province and the Cell C Sharks are the only two unbeaten sides in the tournament to date, and both have enjoyed their two byes, which means a very interesting run exists towards the semi-final stages of the competition.
The Golden Lions will come to Durban this weekend smarting from their big loss to Western Province, their first defeat in the competition this year. Like the Cell C Sharks, they will want to give a good showing on Saturday.
With only six pool games and two byes, this is a Currie Cup competition where no side with ambition can afford to slip-up. One bad day at the office could punish a side’s trajectory to glory.
Meanwhile, the juniors were in action while the senior side was taking a break, with the Cell C Sharks Under 21s sadly slipping up against the Blue Bulls, going down 38-31. They remain in third spot after three matches with a game in hand over the Lions and Bulls (first and second on the log respectively).
The Under 19s however continued their very successful march in the SA Rugby U19 Championship with a 34-24 bonus point victory over their Blue Bulls counterparts. This was the their second win over the Pretoria side, defeating them 22-20 in the first round to achieve a remarkable double this season.
With nine wins from their nine fixtures, they have built up a sizable lead on the log. The Blue Bulls have played one more game but trail them by eight points, the Cell C Sharks having amassed 42 points, in six of the nine adding a bonus point to their tally.
This weekend the juniors travel to Cape Town to take on the Western Province age-group teams.