Ospreys vs Cell C Sharks Match Preview

The Cell C Sharks take on a third new challenge in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, swapping Irish and Scottish opposition for the Welsh Ospreys in Cardiff on Friday evening.

With each week promising to deliver action and excitement, this match won’t disappoint and the Cell C Sharks will approach this match in Swansea with a renewed sense of vigour and determination and the focus is on delivering a complete performance against Ospreys.

With this campaign very much about learning a growing for a young side, last week’s second half performance against Glasgow Warriors is pretty much where the team would like to be.

“We were obviously disappointed in the result, we didn’t start well which wasn’t the plan, Cell C Sharks head coach Sean Everitt admitted. “Some roles going wrong and ill-discipline probably cost us the game, but as a whole, we were very happy with how we played inn the second half.

“That was exactly what we wanted, we put them under pressure with our kicking game and we were able to finish off opportunities in the attack zone.

“We take positives from that game, but we are looking for a complete performance from the boys. We’ve worked hard this week, we’ve been relentless in our preparation and we’re well-prepared for the match.”

After playing an Irish, then Scottish team, now it’s the turn of Welsh opposition which Everitt agreed presented another challenge.

“Glasgow probably play very similar to a Super Rugby team which is what we’re used to, but this Welsh team we’re playing tend towards more of a kicking game and reliance on penalties from the set-piece. We’re prepared from a kicking onslaught from them and then they rely on your mistakes to capitalise on.”

After last week’s slow start, Everitt admitted that this has been a focal point in training, and avoiding a co-occurrence of the pressure that the team had to absorb.

“Chasing the scoreboard away from home is always going to be difficult, the guys looked a bit shell-shocked in the first 20 minutes before we got some momentum going for the rest of the game which we’re happy with.

“The Ospreys are super-conservative, they don’t give you much and they’re only conceded 7.5 penalties on average per game, so it’s a massive challenge for our forward pack, but we have prepared well and we are ready.”

Although Ospreys will look to imprint their style of play on the game, Everitt felt that there will also be opportunities for the Cell C Sharks to dictate the tempo.

“We are always looking for counter-attack opportunities, but it’s about getting the decision-making right – when to run and when to kick – we enjoy playing with ball in hand and we’re very good at it.

“Unfortunately the teams in the URC don’t give you the turnover and penalty opportunities we get in South Africa, the teams in the northern hemisphere are extremely disciplined and they really look after the ball well.

“What the South African sides have learned is that you have to make use of the opportunities and can’t take it for granted that you will get a second, third of fourth bite of the cherry. It’s about being clinical and playing in the right areas of the field, and at the same time avoiding putting yourself under pressure and conceding points.”

Amongst the personnel changes which the coach admitted were both rotational to give opportunities and to freshen things up, and performance based, he has also given prop Thomas du Toit the captaincy.

“Thomas is full of confidence right now and playing his best rugby and the more rugby the front rowers play, the better they get. Thomas was outstanding in his performance against Glasgow, he is a leader and has grown a lot since he’s been with the Springboks.

“We’ve lighted Phepsi Buthelezi’s load after captaining the side in pressure games, he will be back in the team next week but we felt he could do with a good break. We felt Thomas was the natural selection, he’s put his hand up to take the reins with his performances and he’s certainly shown leadership off the field.”