It was a case of ‘mission accomplished’ when the Cell C Sharks defeated the Southern Kings in their round four Vodacom Super Rugby clash at Growthpoint KINGS PARK on Saturday night.
The Kings arrived in Durban in competitive spirit and were never going to give their more fancied opponents, the home team Cell C Sharks, an easy route to victory. It was tight, it was tough and it was a victory that came from digging in heels and grinding it out.
“We are obviously hoping for a win, so I’m happy with the win, but it was messy and we’re not happy with the way we played,” said our head coach Robert du Preez after the match.
After three huge games, we did not reach the same heights, but not for lack of training or desire, he explained.
“I’m not too sure about the impact of the two games overseas and then the Waratahs at home, but we had a very good week’s preparation for the Kings.
“The Kings are a good rugby team, you should never underestimate the opposition.”
Du Preez alluded to the fact that what they had prepared for didn’t translate into the match delivery.
“To be honest, everything we spoke about during the week and how we practiced about how we didn’t want to play and let the Kings in, materialised. We did everything that we shouldn’t have done.”
Two local derbies face the Cell C Sharks in the next fortnight, as we take on the Cheetahs then Lions, both away from home. Du Preez admitted that the performance against the Kings was a timely reminder of what’s to come, and what’s needed to overcome the challenges they face in the next two weeks.
“I hope this is a big wake-up call, we made too many handling errors, it was really disappointing. What’s actually most disappointing is that we played at home, in front of our home fans and we disappointed them.”
Flyhalf Benhard Janse van Rensburg made his debut and du Preez felt that the lack of quality ball made life very difficult for the flyhalf. “It was tough for him, we couldn’t get the forward and set-piece dominance we were looking for, so it wasn’t easy. He would have learned a lot from his debut.”
Nerves of steel Curwin Bosch who converted a 52m penalty is a positive to come out of the game and du Preez acknowledged this.
“His kick showed that he’s a class act and that he can handle the pressure.”
Despite feeling that the performance wasn’t as clinical as they would have hoped, they do now go into the next couple of weeks off the back of a third successive victory which no-one can remove from the log table.
“This will be a wake-up call for the players. It’s almost like we’ve taken a step backwards from the previous game, but I’m confident that the boys will be back and up for it against the Cheetahs [in Bloemfontein next Saturday].”