The Cell C Sharks XV will be looking for the double when they take on the Leopards in our second round SuperSport Rugby Challenge clash at Piet Retief Rugby Club on Saturday afternoon.
“Although it’s a home game, we’re taking it to the community, hoping for a good crowd and the boys are excited to play at the club,” explains head coach Ricardo Loubscher.
In the corresponding first round clash, we defeated them 57-28 in rather emphatic fashion, scoring nine tries to four in mid-May and more of the same, albeit against a side better than the result suggests, will be just reward for the hard work this team has put in.
“We had a really good start, we played with lots of intensity which gave us lots of opportunities and we’re hoping for another good start,” the coach admits. “But playing them the second time round will be tough, our mindset is to go out and express ourselves and give ourselves the chance to win the game.”
Last week the team enjoyed a 45-43 win over the Griffons last week, but as the score-line suggests, it wasn’t easy.
“It was one of those games you feel things that things don’t always go your way, but I must give credit to the boys for hanging in there at the end. There was a great steal from Rikus Zwart to seal the win, basically a two point game. There were a few individual errors and we can always work on defence, there were one or two soft moments, but I am proud of the boys, they showed lots of character in the second half.”
Preparations for this match have gone well Loubscher explains as the team look to improve on areas they might have been disappointed in last week.
“We’re working hard, the systems are there, it’s all about individual errors. We’re playing with a mix of youngsters and senior players, so there will always be ups and downs. Hopefully more ups than downs.
“But I’m confident the boys will step up and give a good performance on the weekend.”
Toyota Free State lead the charge on the Central Log, having played a game extra over the second-placed Griquas and Cell C Sharks XV who are in third, and with the top two teams from each of the three conferences going through to the quarters, plus the wildcards – the next best two teams as far as log points go – the Cell C Sharks XV are still in the running for a place in the knock-out rounds.
“Hopefully we can squeeze in and that’s why this match is a big one for us. Hopefully we can take another step forward.
“The important thing for us is to get the win, bonus points will be a bonus for us. But it’s going to be a tough game, they’re very physical, with mature experienced players.
“We’re sitting with nine under 21s in our match 22, which is brilliant as exposure for our youngsters and I’m confident that we can do the business on the weekend.”
|The Cell C Sharks XV
|1. Jordan Els
||16. Andrew du Plessis
|2. Kerron van Vuuren
||17. Mzamo Majola
|3. Khutha Mchunu
||18. Kyle Whyte
|4. Rikus Zwart
||19. JJ van der Mescht
|5. Andrew Evans
||20. Cornelius Otto
|6. Wian Vosloo
||21. Sanele Nohamba
|7. Kwanda Dimaza
||22. Leolin Zass
|8. Tera Mtembu (C)
|9. Francois de Villiers
|10. Danrich Visagie
|11. Aphelele Fassi
|12. Jeremy Ward
|13. Tristan Blewett
|14. Ilunga Mukendi
|15. Courtney Winnaar