Wet Weather Tactics

The Cell C Sharks 10th consecutive win in this year’s Currie Cup competition has set us up perfectly for the remainder of the competition, with no other side able to challenge our status as log leaders.

Despite the fact that we enjoy a bye this weekend while other teams play catch-up in the games played column, we have built up a lead that cannot be overcome. This ensures home ground advantage in the semi-finals, and should we win that match, a home final at Growthpoint KINGS PARK.

Every week, the message coming out of our camp has been about improving incrementally and head coach Robert du Preez was pleased with how the team executed.

“I think our game management did improve from the Blue Bulls game,” he said after the match.

“Unfortunately, although we created a lot of opportunities which is pleasing, we had 14 entries into the Lions’ 22 and didn’t score enough points from those visits, so I don’t think we were as accurate as we wanted to be. That’s certainly something we need to work on.

“In saying that though, the boys stuck to the plan and managed the game very well, so I’m pleased with that.”

Rain and lightning did not help either team’s cause, but ultimately the Cell C Sharks’ 24-10 victory came off executing a wet weather game plan and pressuring the Lions into mistakes – which broke all continuity. Ultimately, they managed a late try, very much against the run of play, but that was when the result was well and truly out of reach.

“We knew it was going to be wet, the conditions were quite tough, but I’m pretty happy with our ball retention at times, it wasn’t easy out there.”

Mistakes aren’t always made from poor execution, but also from the pressure applied to a team who then cannot remain calm in the face of adversity. The Lions definitely couldn’t contain the rampant Cell C Sharks.

“Feeding off their mistakes was outstanding. Our defence coach won’t be happy because we conceded a try right at the end, but I think overall it was a very good defensive effort.

“Our pressure on attack and defence meant that the Lions couldn’t ever really get going, that was outstanding.

“Something we do need to work on is our conversion rate when we do get into the opposition 22. When we have teams on the rack, we need to finish them off.”

Although Curwin Bosch was officially named Man of the Match, it was a real team performance and du Preez felt that any number of the players could have received the accolade.

“Taking nothing from Curwin’s excellent performance, I also I thought our centre pairing was outstanding, but many of our players potentially could have received the award. I thought Ruan Botha also played very well, Franco Marais too.”

There will be no rugby this weekend as the Cell C Sharks enjoy a bye, which du Preez admitted, “We are looking forward to it. The team has done very well, they’ve put in a lot of hard work, it’s a well-deserved break for them.”

The Cell C Sharks will not be off for a whole week, even though they won’t have a game this coming weekend and will resume training on Wednesday.