Preview: Cell C Sharks vs Vodacom Blue Bulls – Featured Durban Blog

Preview: Cell C Sharks vs Vodacom Blue Bulls:

Saturday marks semi-final time and the excitement that comes with knowing that we’re at the business end of the Currie Cup competition when the Cell C Sharks host the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Growthpoint KINGS PARK.

Head coach Robert du Preez has made three changes to his starting line-up and explains that as far as team selection, he has probably named the best possible team on form.

“I’m very happy with the team we’ve been able to name,” he says. “There have been some tough selection posers but we think that the team we have chosen is the one that’s on form.

“This weekend’s game will bring out the best in the players.”

The Cell C Sharks’ defence has proven to be the best in the tournament, conceding 19 points on average per game, with the Bulls conceding exactly double that figure. Western Province’s defence comes in second, with an average ‘against’ score of 26 points. However, the Bulls do shade us as far as the points scored column goes which means our defence will be severely tested.

“Defence has been one of our strong points this season,” du Preez admits. “Your defence needs to be great for finals matches and we will be relying on our defence heavily for this match.

“A lot has been said about the way they’re playing. They have a dangerous back three which we’ll need to stop. We have done a lot of work on how we want to achieve that.

“Like them, we won’t be moving far from what has worked for us, game management is critical, territory is equally important and we have our pack that is good enough to give us dominance.”

Although the team will look to stick to what’s worked all season, that doesn’t rule out the possibility of venturing into alien waters should the way the game is playing out demand change.

“The stuff we’ve done has worked for us so we aren’t making any big changes to how we play. But, in saying that, we have enough experience and leadership in the team to change something if we need to. We will have some back-up plans, but we believe in what we’ve done so far.”

Captain Ruan Botha is leading the team in his first ever Currie Cup knock-out match and although he is excited at the prospect, keeping calm is more important to prevent emotions getting the better of him (and his team-mates).

“Within the team, we have a number of experienced guys, like Keegan Daniel and Franco Marais and Michael Claassens who have all played in semis and finals before. For the younger guys who might be playing in their first semi-final, their excitement is balanced by the wise heads of the experienced players.  I think we have the balance right between senior and younger players coming into the system, so there aren’t any real nerves in the team.

“We know what we need to do, just need to stick to the basics and play our game and do what we want to do.”

His plan for the Bulls is simple, stop them upfront.

“I know it’s a cliché, but it is true that the game starts upfront, so we as a pack need to front up to whatever the Bulls throw at us and do our best to stop them.

“The Bulls have evolved throughout the season, even their pack is playing more attacking rugby, so it’s going to be a tough battle upfront but we, as a Sharks pack, are ready for whatever they come with.”

The set-piece confrontation is going to be keenly contested by both teams, although it’s an area the Cell C Sharks have done well in this season.

“It’s always a big battle, but we’ve done a lot of hard work on this area and we’ve done our homework. We’ll learn from our mistakes, but take confidence from our performances this season into this season.”

The post Preview: Cell C Sharks vs Vodacom Blue Bulls appeared first on Sharks Rugby.

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