Vodacom Super Rugby
Forgotten Shark out to impress
Pat Cilliers (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Of all the Sharks players who have furthered their careers at the Lions, prop Pat Cilliers is the one over whose departure the fewest tears have been shed.
After all, Springbok props Tendai Mtawarira, Jannie du Plessis and John Smit are at the Sharks. And, with Deon Carstens and BJ Botha also running out at the Sharks in recent years, Cilliers struggled to get a game.
That is why the 24-year-old prop had to move to Johannesburg and this year he has already played more Super Rugby matches for the Lions than in four years at the Sharks.
He is highly rated in the young Lions team and Cilliers will return to Durban as the visitors’ tighthead prop on Saturday.
Cilliers made his Super Rugby debut for the Sharks against the Lions in 2007.
He has a lot to prove this coming weekend, especially as the Lions’ scrum has not been convincing in recent games.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” said Cilliers.
“We have analysed our game of the past weekend (against the Reds) and clearly our scrums and lineouts were not good. But our scrums aren't too bad, but there's always one or two scrums that aren’t working out and it points to a lack of concentration.
“The performance in the lineouts was our worst to date and we couldn't get any possession there. But the Sharks are also struggling in the lineouts and we are very positive about our chances,” he said.
Cilliers is one of a number of former Sharks that now form part of the core of the Lions.
The Lions could have won all their games to date in the Super Rugby tournament. Instead, they have only won once and stand on 9 log points.
Only the Cheetahs (8 points) trail the Lions on the overall log.
“We’re not looking at the points table too much, even if we know we don’t have many log points. This morning we decided to set a short-term goal and we will aggressively seek to achieve that,” said Cilliers.
According to Cilliers, the goal is to focus on the Sharks game and the ensuing ones against the Stormers, Chiefs and Cheetahs. After that the Lions go on tour.
“We’re desperate for a victory. We are only focusing on achieving that win, no matter how we get it.”