Head coach Robert du Preez paid tribute to a courageous team effort and improvement from the previous encounter, in his team’s 27-22 victory over a very determined Brumbies team on Saturday.
There is a spring in the step and lots of smiles around Growthpoint KINGS PARK following their successful outing in a place where wins are rare.
“There was a big improvement on the Reds match,” du Preez said on his return to Durban. “Collectively, as a team, we performed a lot better.
“A couple of things we wanted to concentrate on was our reaction to the breakdown situations which was much better this week, our exits which were also an improvement, and we got the bulk of possession, which helped.”
Against the Reds, ball possession stats showed the home team had the lions share, but this turned around against the Brumbies.
“When we kept ball in hand and started to put the phases together, it showed what this team is capable of and I’m very pleased with that,” he said. “At one stage, we put 19 phases together.”
This was a result of composure and continuity on attack, where they forced the home team to spend more time defending that they would have liked.
“The patience we showed in the attacking zone was much better; we weren’t trying to offload 50-50 passes, although we were a bit unlucky not to get some points early on. There was an improvement on our discipline, although 11 penalties is still a lot and five of those could have actually been avoided.
“The possession held and the points scored in the last eight minutes of the first half gave the players a lot of confidence. The talk in the change-room at half-time was really positive and we came out and really played well in the first ten minutes of the second half.”
Du Preez explained that during the last few minutes of the game, it was the calming, but determined focus of the captain that took his team to victory. “Patrick said to the guys: ‘You have to believe that we are going to pull this one through.’ This showed that the team believed in themselves, that they could do it. They played right to the end and that was very pleasing.”
The Cell C Sharks will spend this week preparing to host a very dangerous Waratahs team who will be hurting after their loss to the Lions this past weekend.
“This victory against the Brumbies will give the guys a lot of confidence. Obviously the match against the Waratahs this Saturday is going to be a very tough one, but I’m sure the boys will be up for it, especially as we are playing at home in front of our home crowd.”