Gaining Momentum

With the final round of Carling Currie Cup pool matches left to play this coming weekend, the Cell C Sharks have put themselves into an unassailable position as home semi-finalists following their dominance of the Sigma Lions in Saturday’s clash at Emirates Airline Park.

Second on the log, four points behind the Vodacom Blue Bulls and seven ahead of Tafel Lager Griquas, the Cell C Sharks played champagne rugby against the Sigma Lions on Saturday afternoon, scoring eight tries in their 56-14 demolition and they will look to keep the momentum going with three weeks of Currie Cup action left to crown the 2021 champions.

But there can be no resting on laurels for a Cell C Sharks team with the highest aim – of winning the tournament. They host DHL Western Province at Jonsson Kings Park next Saturday and will be looking to maintain the great form shown over recent weeks.

“Because we’re a performance-driven team, we want to put in good performances week in and week out and we’d like to start settling on combinations that will take us forward ahead of the semis and final after rotating players during the course of the competition,” explained head coach Sean Everitt after the match.

While there was much to enthuse about, Everitt did pick out the scrums as an area of concern and a work-on for his team.

“I was a bit disappointed in our scrum, particularly in the first half when we gave away four penalties which wasn’t ideal, but credit must go to the Lions, they have a formidable front row, definitely the strongest pack in the competition when it comes to scrumming and we felt the brunt of that.

“But the scrums did get better towards the end of the game.”

Despite scoring eight tries in the match, Everitt pointed to his team’s effort on defence that nullified just about everything the Sigma Lions threw at his team, and which saw the home side manage just two tries all game, scoring the first after 60 minutes of play.

“I thought our defensive effort was superb,” the coach said. “We’ve been working hard on our defence and John McFarland must take a lot of credit for that. We’ve been found wanting at times, but we’re starting to get confidence out of what we’re doing at training and what John has brought in as the new defensive coach.

“We managed to get a lot of reward, a lot of turnovers at the breakdown, so I’m very pleased with how we defended, especially at maul time.”

But there can be no denying that this Cell C Sharks team is doing something special on attack. It helps to have a player with the x-factor of Thaakir Abrahams who contributed a hat-trick of tries in the game.

“I’ve coached Thaakir for a number of years and he has such potential and in this Currie Cup he’s just grown and grown with the game time he’s received and we’re pleased whenever he goes over.

“He’s a wonderful boy and he deserves everything he gets on the field. It can be difficult for players who aren’t big in stature to make their mark at the top level, but he certainly has.

“In saying that, I thought the two scrumhalves were also very good in their performances and there were some stand-out performances from certain individuals. But for us, it’s about moving forward as a team.

“We’ll enjoy this win, but we’ll get back to the drawing board and work really hard because we know the Currie Cup is coming to an end and we have a massive challenge coming up after that.”