The Thrill of Victory – Featured Durban Blog

The Thrill of Victory:

Cell C Sharks head coach Robert du Preez was thrilled with his team’s effort in our 37-21 Currie Cup defeat of the Xerox Golden Lions to earn a fourth successive bonus point victory that keeps us in contention for a home semi-final.

Although he pointed out that it was a game of two halves, ultimately the team did what was necessary to ensure victory, the bonus point, and deny the Lions one of their own

“Especially the first half, I thought the boys really stuck to their structures and were really patient which is something we’ve been working really hard at,” said after the match.

“I do think we lost our way a bit in the second half, especially with all the changes we made. We spoke about it at half-time because we needed to give much-needed game time to players like Coenie, Jacques Vermeulen and Sbu Nkosi who were all back in the mix.

“We spoke to the boys about keeping to our structures, keeping to the plan and although it didn’t pan out as we had planned, the boys got their game time.

“All in all, a fantastic result.”

Although there were three bonus point matches to precede this one, du Preez admitted that this was the team’s best performance to date.

“It was definitely the step up we were looking for. Although the conditions were really difficult, I thought the boys played some really good rugby.”

On an individual level, whilst this was a team effort, there is no doubt that the contributions from every player were top class.

“We controlled the game really well – Louis, Rob, Curwin all playing their part – our territory game was outstanding.

Thomas du Toit at tighthead provided the scrum go-forward that earned us a number of penalties and made sure we were never on the back foot at this vital set-piece. “Thomas was good, I’m sure he’ll give the Bok selectors something to think about,” said du Preez. “He played really well. He’s happy to be back and playing. Ditto for Coenie, he felt good after the game, he came through well and we’re pleased to have him back.”

This was never going to be a free-flowing game, given both the conditions and the desire from both sides for victory. But ultimately the Cell C Sharks played the better rugby.

“I was very pleased with how the boys stuck it out in difficult conditions; the communication, particularly in those final minutes of the game, was outstanding. I’m also very happy that we didn’t concede a bonus point try in the end.”

With two games of the Currie Cup pool stages remaining, the upcoming clash with table-topping Western Province (on points’ difference only over the Cell C Sharks) takes on a very important hue and could determine the ultimate outcome of the competition.

“We know that we need to put two halves like this match together and I do think that when we have opportunities against Western Province like we had in this game, we must take them,” said the coach. “We didn’t in the second half against the Lions, we let them off the hook. That’s something we will focus on in training this week.

“But this is a big game, one we need to win.”

As things currently stand, Western Province and the Cell C Sharks are first and second on the Currie Cup log, both with a maximum of 20 points from their four games. The Bulls and Lions, with 17 and 16 points respectively, have both played an extra game and will miss out on a home semi should the Cell C Sharks and Province both win just one of the remaining two games.

“To win a Currie Cup – and we haven’t won it since 2013 – would be fantastic; it’s something we’re aiming for. We need to use our possession more intelligently, we get a bit loose at times and things get too unstructured. But we are a good team when we keep to our structures.”

The post The Thrill of Victory appeared first on Sharks Rugby.

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