’Covid-19 kind of a blessing in disguise’ for Sharks
DURBAN – It’s rare to find someone who would see some positivity in the pandemic and the harsh impact it’s had on rugby matches and competitions but, instead of jumping to the endless list of negatives, Sharks captain Lukhanyo Am says their break from rugby due to Covid-19 has been “kind of a blessing”.
The Durban outfit’s last Currie Cup game was against Griquas on January 2 and their match against Western Province, scheduled for Newlands, was cancelled, with both teams getting two points due to the number of positive cases in the Sharks camp.
They will now face Province in Cape Town on Saturday in the second semi-final at 4.30pm, while the Bulls will host the Lions at Loftus earlier in the day (2pm kick-off).
The play-offs were pushed back by a week to allow teams to get ready for the last-four challenge.
While the amended training sessions and lack of game time in recent weeks may raise the concern of rustiness at the business-end of the competition, the World Cup-winning Springbok centre says the delay has given them additional time to prepare for the play-offs.
“Covid was kind of a blessing in disguise for us,” Am said during a virtual media conference yesterday.
“I think it has given us a long time to prepare for the semi-finals and I think we managed to sharpen up on the issues that we thought we needed to improve on.”
Am also added that a loss of momentum isn’t too much of a concern for them and that they’re not treating the challenge of this game any different to getting right back into action after a regular bye week.
“We have been together for a very long time – it’s not something we think will bite us,” Am added.
“It’s something that happens all the time in a season where you get a bye after a three or four-week run.
“For us going into the play-offs with the group we have, I think it came at the perfect time.”
The midfielder sounded fairly confident that they would be able to fight off the challenges that the 34-time Currie Cup champions can throw at them, and went on to state that the plan is to get as many points as possible when they meet at Newlands this weekend.
“Semi-finals are like any other play-off game where you just try and score as many points as you can.
“It’s definitely going to be tough playing against Western Province at Newlands, but we know what to expect from them and we will try and counter that,” he said.