DURBAN - Sharks coach Robert du Preez will be hoping that his counterpart at the Blue Bulls, John Mitchell, has not given the Durban team the kiss of death when he said: “They ought to win it from here, it will be hard for them to stuff it up.”
Talk of winning the Currie Cup is the last thing the guarded Du Preez will entertain given that anything can happen in semi-finals.
While the Sharks will have a home semi regardless of whether they lose home games to the Golden Lions on Friday and then Western Province, Du Preez will be the first to tell the players that “they have won nothing yet”.
“It really is one game at a time for us,” Du Preez smiled, knowing he was opting for the oldest cliche in the book. “From game one it has been about getting better with every performance.
"Against the Bulls we had to find a different way to win in the wet, but we had known it would rain and planned accordingly, and I was pleased that we executed the game plan well. In conditions like that you see the character of the guys. It was a good win.”
Du Preez said that he had taken Curwin Bosch aside before the game and told him that the conditions would suit his skills, and it did.
Bosch is an exceptional kicker and he drilled the ball into the open spaces with precision in a performance that will have the national selectors re-thinking their plan to introduce him to Test rugby later rather than sooner.
Against the Lions on Friday at Kings Park, Bosch will have a re-jigged backline to work with due to injuries and national call-ups, and the Sharks’ depth will be tested.
Wing S’bu Nkosi will be with the Springboks in Bloemfontein, while centre Jeremy Ward injured a shoulder joint against the Bulls and won’t play this week.
The Sharks are also still missing two of their best backs in centre Lukhanyo Am and wing Kobus van Wyk.
Du Preez will not be overly concerned though. Ward’s recent centre partner, Marius Louw, the former Grey College pupil, has been a revelation and young Tristan Blewett, the former Hilton College centre, has been getting game time off the bench and can step up to the starting line-up.
The Sharks have a bye next week and then finish off against WP before the semi-finals on October 21.