Fixing the Set-piece

Although the lineouts and scrums did present some issues for the Cell C Sharks in their match against the Hurricanes, towering lock Ruben van Heerden promises that those issues are a thing of the past.

“The lineouts have been a bit of a concern,” he admits. “In the last three games we haven’t delivered at lineout time as we’d like to, and it’s something we are focusing on because, like all facets of play, we have to. But this weekend you’re going to see something different from us, it’s going to be a good attacking platform for us.

“And because we have such a potent backline, we want to give them the best possible platform to operate from.”

The scrums also came under pressure against the Hurricanes and a disrupted set-piece didn’t help the Cell C Sharks, particularly with both props not starting – Thomas du Toit ruled out late and Ox Nche shifting to the bench as cover.

“I feel like we were thrown in the deep end a bit because of certain circumstances that were out of our control. But despite the disruptions, I thought we did well, although the set-piece didn’t go according to plan and it’s something we’re not shying away from, we’re working very hard at it.

“The days of our scrum and lineout not working… those days are gone now because we’re fixing it, we’ve already fixed it. This weekend our set-piece will be a different animal. Definitely.”

With a potent Cell C Sharks backline, the forwards aren’t spoken of as highly and that’s something the pack have taken as motivation this season, as van Heerden explains.

“As a forward pack, I think we are definitely underestimated and we’re enjoying that position of the underdog. We are just getting stronger and stronger, going from strength to strength and each week we are getting better and growing.

“We don’t see our selves in any way ‘less’ than any other pack, we won’t stand back to any pack in the comp so I don’t see why anyone underestimates us. But it’s pretty cool that they do because it’s a cool position to be in.”

With two matches of the four week tour remaining, the Cell C Sharks are setting high hopes for the final fortnight in Australia.

“We want to win these games – we want to win every game – Rebels this weekend and Reds the next, we want to go home with three out of four on tour.”

After losing to the Sunwolves and Brumbies in the opening two weeks, the Melbourne side struck back against the Waratahs for a 24-10 win last week to underline their unpredictability.

“The Rebels are a very good side and we’re not taking them lightly,” van Heerden admits.

“They have a really good coach in Dave Wessels, we know he likes a certain style of play and we’re preparing for that really well. We’ve been working hard to prepare for whatever they throw at us and I’m confident for what lies ahead.

“The Rebels are quite a physical side and that’s the kind of game I like to play and how we like to play defensively, and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”