Durban - Sharks loose forward Jean Deysel says they are relishing the pressure of their do-or-die clash against the Golden Lions in Johannesburg on Friday.
The winner of the match will qualify for the Currie Cup semi-finals, with the loser likely to miss out.
“These are the fun ones when it’s everything or nothing,” Deysel told the Sharks’ official website.
“It’s do-or-die for us, and for them. We’re looking forward to it and I know so are they. These are the games you want to be involved in, the tight ones, the ones you remember.”
The Lions, fighting for a top four finish, have found themselves in the uncomfortable position of having to prove their mettle having dropped three games. This comes off the back of them winning the title last year, but this time, without a number of their first-line players who have been rewarded for Super Rugby successes with Springbok call-ups.
“This weekend, we’re playing for our lives and we’re going to do our best and hopefully come away with a win,” says Deysel. “We’ve come back from the bye week and everyone has new life, new fire in them.”
With the Sharks hoping to have a number of their previously injured players back, amongst them Keegan Daniel, Stephan Lewies and Philip van der Walt, it’s certainly going to be a battle of attrition between two big, strong packs.
“These are not just players, they’re senior players, so if we get them back, that’s a lot of leadership to add, and with that, tons of experience. It’s brilliant to have guys like them back and with the young and exciting backline of ours, if we can lay a solid foundation - because it all starts with the forwards - and give our backs the freedom to run, they will have the opportunity to do the business on the weekend.”
It will be a tough challenge at Ellis Park, Deysel noted.
“It’s not going to be easy, but any team is beatable, in any competition,” he said. “Yes, they are playing at home, but every member of this team has played there and if we rock up, well-prepared and they let their guard down, even for just a moment, we need to turn that into our advantage.”