The Cell C Sharks will be in a determined mood when we host the Melbourne Rebels at Growthpoint KINGS PARK on Saturday to kick-off the next set of Vodacom Super Rugby fixtures following our bye.
We’re currently third on the South African group conference, second on the Africa 2 conference and in seventh place on the overall log table which means at this stage, we qualify for the knock-out rounds after the conclusion of the pool stages.
But that is a long way away and right now, the focus is directly on the visiting Rebels who pulled off a surprise win over the Australian pace-setting Brumbies last week, recording their first win of the 2017 season and they will no doubt will bring that confidence to tomorrow’s clash against our Sharks team.
However, the visitors won’t be the only ones riding a wave of confidence, the Cell C Sharks too come into this match showing good form and having enjoyed success over the Jaguares before our bye last week.
If history is anything to go bye, it will show that the Rebels have yet to defeat us, either in Durban or their home. Since their introduction to Super Rugby in 2011, when the two sides met in Melbourne, Australia, we have managed to maintain a 100% success rate.
That first clash in 2011 was a tight affair as we ran out narrow 34-32 victors. It was a completely different story in 2013 in Durban when an emphatic performance gave us a 64-7 win. The final two games were tighter affairs, 22-16 in Melbourne in 2014 and 25-21 in 2015 in Durban.
But as we know, history counts for nothing and head coach Robert du Preez warns that there will be no complacency from his charges.
“Definitely not, the Rebels are defensively very good and with two big wings, they like to get the ball out wide. They’ve been a bit unlucky at times this season so we’re certainly not taking them lightly.
“Their win over the Brumbies showed that on the day, anything can happen. We’re going to have to bring our ‘A’ game.”
With autumn now well on its way and cooler weather in Durban, the opportunity to start playing an exciting brand of rugby presents itself.
But there has to be a fine line between chasing bonus points and the hunt for victory.
“I’ve said right from the start that we want to play ball in hand rugby, we want to score tries,” he explains.
“That hasn’t really materialised, but it’s definitely top of mind. In saying that, a win is more important for me than scoring a bonus point.
“But over the next five games, the third phases of our campaign, it’s going to be really important to build on the momentum that we’ve got and there are certain areas of our game that we need to focus on.
“One is ensuring that we’re more accurate with our exits, and the other is to convert our opportunities, because we’re creating many.”
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