It’s the battle of the South African coastal sides when the Cell C Sharks host DHL Stormers in Saturday’s scheduling of the two teams’ round one Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash at Hollywoodbets Kings Park.

Despite both sides not having their respective Springboks available this weekend, Cell C Sharks Director of Rugby Neil Powell admits that the players who took their place last week more than stood up to the challenge and will be called on to continue that passion.

“We know that we have eight Boks in our system who will be unavailable for us for the next eight weeks, so it’s important for us to plan well and to make sure the guys are ready to take their place and keep the standard up.

“We like what we saw last week, a massive effort, fight and character, especially in a defensive way, and that should be the standard for us every single game. From a coaching and management perspective, we will continue to drive the standards and processes and hopefully pitch up every single game.”

Although there is always talk and hype around this fixture, Powell believes that too much attention on one game is unhealthy and that the hype really means very little in the context of this match.

“This is just the next game in a long season,” he explains.  “If we make one game bigger than the others, if we put more emphasis on one, then it puts more pressure on you.

“What we want out of this game in terms of our understanding of our roles and responsibilities and the effort which was the same message for the Edinburgh game last weekend: that it was a also a big game, but it’s just another game and the focus then, as it is now, is on our standards and what we want to achieve on the field as a team. 

“Yes, the result may have a significant impact on the table, but for us it’s all about our standards and the effort we want to put into this game, rather than focusing on the outcome and the difference that would make on the log.”

The Stormers are not the current title holders and second on the log for nothing, and Powell warns that they offer formidable opposition. But adds that it is vital not to lose sight of what his own team need to produce in this game.

“There’s a reason why the Stormers sit so high on that log, there are certain things they do really well and they have certain individuals who are really good in different areas of the game.

“As their opponents, we’ve identified those areas and individuals and we know that there are several things we need to get right in this game if we want to be successful.”

Although there is no doubt that the Cell C Sharks will be tested, they come into this match knowing they have home ground advantage and tons of confidence gained from last week’s result over Edinburgh.

“We took massive confidence out of that game, and confidence that came from gutsing out that performance. As long as there isn’t any over-confidence that in turn leads to complacency.

“It was important for us to go into this game with confidence because the Stormers are a quality side that plays good rugby and we need to identify the threats they pose when you play against them.

“Hopefully we can take that flow, momentum and confidence into Saturday’s match.”