Johannesburg - The Cell C Sharks have not forgotten how they have stumbled in opening matches against GWK Griquas in past Absa Currie Cup seasons, so they were understandably happy with their win in Kimberley on the opening weekend even though it did not include a bonus point.
The supersport.com website reports, with Griquas down to 14 men from the early minutes, perhaps the Sharks should have been expected to get the four tries, particularly as they were well on their way to doing that at halftime. But the points for the 31-24 win was good enough for the coaching staff, who will not have forgotten that last year’s campaign started with defeat to Griquas at Kings Park.
“I know people will say we were playing against 14 men, but I think that closed Griquas up a lot and forced them to play a much tighter game, which probably suited them because they have a really big pack of forwards,” said assistant coach Paul Anthony.
“But the pleasing thing was that our forwards stood up to them and that created opportunities on the outside. Paul Jordaan at centre received a lot of ball which is a good indicator for us that we’re getting to where we want to be. For a first game up, with such a short turnaround time after Super Rugby, we’re very, very happy. A lot of good teams have lost up there down the years.”
The Sharks now play their first home game against the Pumas on Friday, with the visitors in a confident mood after their unexpected win over the Free State Cheetahs in Nelspruit last week.
“I know the Pumas coach, Jimmy Stonehouse, really well, and we are personal friends, and I know that he will be bringing his team to Durban determined to make a point, so we will have to be ready for them. They deserve their place in the top division and we will be paying them a lot of respect,” said Anthony.