Durban - Cell C Sharks director of rugby Jake White
has praised his side for their full commitment in their resounding victory over the Waratahs.
According to Sharks website editor, Michael Marnewick
, not only did the Cell C Sharks plan on playing their Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Waratahs as if it were a final of sorts, but they delivered a rousing performance worthy of praise.
"We wanted to leave nothing out there, no excuses like we would be playing next week, so we knew we could really climb in," explains White.
"Basically putting in a performance deserving of a result.
"We knew it was going to be tough but we knew we had a week off afterwards so there could be no excuses.
"I am really happy with the result, happy with the way we went into the game and how we finished off the game.
"I’m happy with the attitude of the players and how they picked themselves up after last week’s defeat.
"Is it enough to win the competition?
"Probably not, we’re probably going to have to replicate that week after week.
"Make sure that we’re up for every single game because people are going to want to knock us over as well. That’s our challenge.
"But what gives us confidence is that we know that if we play like that against anyone in the competition, we’ll get a result.
"We defended well, we scrummed well, our set-piece was good.
"We still managed to build pressure even though they came off the line aggressively and managed to hold onto the ball to build pressure.
"There is enough for us to get confidence that most teams will be under pressure if we play like that."
The win, coupled to a Brumbies upset and the Bulls and Chiefs drawing in Pretoria, allowed the Cell C Sharks to build a nice buffer between themselves and a sizable chasing pack.
They are on 23 log points and there are six teams on 17 or 16 points, and given their bye this weekend, there is an opportunity for the teams second through seven to make some gains on their margin.
The win also kept secure their home record, an enviable one this season which has seen them go unbeaten at Kings Park.
They have suffered just the one loss, to the Bulls in Pretoria and it’s never easy up there.
"If anyone said at the start of the competition that we would win five out of our first six games before our second bye, we would have taken it," White admits.
"Don’t underestimate the fact that this result was massive for us after losing to the Bulls in Pretoria and with the Waratahs’ record against us which is probably one of the best they have against any South African side.
"We’ve beaten them two or three times in the last 10 years…
"But now we have a deserved break, an opportunity to refresh the group.
"We won’t get too many injured players back because those are long term injuries.
"But it’s a nice time to regroup before a few games and then heading overseas.”
The entire team has been given a complete break from rugby. It is deserved given the physicality of the game.
"This week, we are so sore after the last two weeks and we need as much time away from rugby as possible," he points out.
"And it’s not just about these tough games; we have three games in South Africa and then four overseas and then the Stormers on our return, so we have two months of rugby coming up and we need a bit of time for the players to refresh themselves.
"The next two months will be make or break in terms of where we end up in this competition.”