DURBAN - For the Sharks, there is a chance to get one over on the only other undefeated team in the competition, but there is also the chance to secure a home semi-final with a win in Cape Town. And because of everything that is on the line, scrumhalf Cam Wright says the team are looking at this game as a quarter-final.
“This is our most important clash up until now and the most important in terms of securing that home semi-final and this will be a good test to see how we can go in those semi-final and final stages, probably treating this more as a quarter-final stage more than anything else,” Wright said.
No doubt that if the Sharks can win in Cape Town, they will be hot favourites to lift the trophy, especially after finding some form against the Golden Lions at a wet Kings Park last Saturday. Province have also been in devastating form, running in a lot of points, so for Wright and the Sharks it is just about improving on the Lions showing.
“It is also really important to build some continuity after this good game,” Wright said of the Lions encounter. “We have a few touch-ups to make though. The first half was really good, especially with the conditions playing in wet weather; we threw the ball around and played a good brand. But the bench, including me, need to take a good look at ourselves; the second half was not as great as the first, but a five-point win against the Lions is not bad.”
The Sharks boasted a good-looking bench on paper for that clash, but a lot of their returning stars were back from long injury lay-offs. The likes of Springboks Coenie Oosthuizen and Sbu Nkosi got their first taste of rugby for a while, as did Jacques Vermeulen. There was also new boy Ruben van Heerden, who made his debut off the bench.
“Coenie has been out for ages, and had a good hit-out, and Sbu is the same, Jacques is the same, just getting into the swing of things,” Wright explained of his returning teammates.
“There is nothing greater than game fitness, you can spend as much time as you want running around the training field, but taking the knocks and getting off the ground is a completely different story.”
The Sharks will hope that they can pull off an 80-minute performance against a ruthless Province side, and as Wright alludes to, the bench will be key to that. But at least a lot of them will be feeling more comfortable after getting some rugby under their belts last week.