Sharks target Loftus triumph
Hugh Reece-Edwards (File)
Durban - Sharks assistant coach Hugh Reece-Edwards is confident that they have the game plan to go and beat the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld this weekend.
The Durbanites are the only unbeaten team in this year's competition and were impressive in beating the Lions 30-14 at Kings Park on Saturday. The previous week they also beat Western Province at Newlands and currently top the Currie Cup standings
And Reece-Edwards is understandably pleased with the season's efforts so far.
“We played some really good rugby,” he told Sharks website
editor Michael Marnewick
“We were quite happy with what was happening during the last 20 minutes of the first half, but our ball retention wasn’t good and we made too many loose mistakes. But we knew that with the way we were playing, we could get the result and at the end of the day we were really happy; this is a young side, an inexperienced side. I thought our decision-making was really good, just the accuracy and finishing off of those decisions we battled at times.”
The Lions did dominate at scrum time but the differences between the two packs are fairly vast he explained.
“The Lions have a very settled scrum obviously and our guys have been thrown together again, but they have played together at this level before. However, they were up against a big pack, with a big weight advantage and they took their opportunities against us. We saw that last week as well when they beat the Cheetahs, they came with the exact same attitude. So they came into this match riding high while our guys are still trying to find their feet. That’s certainly no excuse and this week they will have to go back and really work hard because it becomes a big week for us to try and rectify it.”
The Sharks will also have to make do without the services of hooker Craig Burden who has been called into the Springbok squad to tour Argentina following the injury to team-mate Bismarck du Plessis, who is out for the season after injuring his knee.
Despite taking a kick to the face, flyhalf Riaan Viljoen was given the all clear and aside from some minor bumps and bruises expected in a derby game, everyone should be fit and ready to play - aside from Burden.
“Riaan is alright, Meyer Bosman
has a slight contusion to his knee, but it looks like he should be ok for next week, everyone is relatively fine.”
There is little rest in this year’s tournament with only six sides and every match a tough game - with this weekend's trip to Loftus just about as tough as it gets against a Bulls team who will be eager to bounce back after losing to Free State last week.
“It doesn’t get any easier, the Blue Bulls away is always a tremendous clash, one of those where we don’t have to motivate the guys too much because they’ll certainly be up for it. It will be an interesting one, they will be desperate to win because they’re playing at home, we want to keep our roll going, we need to win it. And if we improve then we can win it.
“We know we have the game plan to beat them up at Loftus, we just need to challenge the players and cut out the mistakes.”
The clash at Loftus kicks off at 19:10 on Saturday.