Adrian Jacobs recently achieved the milestone of 50 Super 14 caps for the Sharks whilst on tour, and has now taken his total caps for the province to over 100.
Mike Marnewick reports for www.sharksrugby.co.za.
“It was a great achievement for me, especially coming from the Falcons,” he explains. “In that situation, you always want to play for a big Union like the Sharks, and I am one of those players who believes that through hard work you can achieve a lot things. In my heart it was special, and I will always treasure that moment. Unfortunately we lost to the Brumbies that day, although it was a game we could have won.
Together with his 49 Currie Cup caps, he has now played in 102 games for the Sharks. When you add his 25 Super rugby caps achieved with the Bulls and then Cats and his 46 appearances for the Falcons, you appreciate what the 27-year old has achieved in his eight year career. With a total of 183 first class appearances (including 10 Tests), the 200 mark is not far off.
He’s in good company as far as Sharks caps go. “It’s a great achievement. For me, I am just blessed, a lot of players may not have got to 100 games because of injuries or whatever, so 100 is an awesome achievement, but I am not in the league of the Cabouses or Tony Watsons of the 1990s and guys like Gary Teichmann and Andre Joubert who are legends. They were all unbelievable players.”
His role as super-sub is well-documented and he has often come on late in games, his energy and creativity have been vital in assisting the team achieve its aims. But he admits that starting a game has been a long time coming. “I was stoked being picked to start, the last time was in the Currie Cup, so I was looking forward to starting and getting the five points, something we haven’t done since the Bulls game.”
The super-sub or impact player has an important role, although playing off the bench isn’t every player’s ideal. He accedes that there are only 15 players to start a game after all. “What helped was the positive attitude the coaches have given me. That’s the main criterion for any player coming off the bench, you have to remain positive. Starting – I knew it was coming, what happened was that Dick Muir asked me to just run the ball against the Cheetahs and see how the backline goes. I tried and luckily we got the five points.”
The Sharks may have seen off the Cheetahs and achieved the bonus point, but the pressure remains.
“Coming into last week’s game, we knew if we lost we were out of it, and this week again, it’s like a final for us,” he explains. “But the boys are well-prepared, we know the Chiefs are a very tough team, they are one of the most physical sides in New Zealand. It’s a big match for us.
“They never give up, and although they have a few injuries, the guys replacing them are going to be enthusiastic and we aren’t underestimating them. We just need to stick to the game plan and then as Dick always says, the result will take care of itself.”
Just as losing last week would have knocked them out of contention, so the same fate awaits them this weekend. “For us, it’s a final and there is no turning back,” he says. “We have faith in ourselves and know our fate is in our own hands but really looking forward to the challenge.”
There is a great amount of optimism in the camp, and training was energetic on Tuesday night. Saturday presents the last obstacle and then the Sharks should be in the semis – and then anything is possible. “As AJ said, what happened two years ago when the Bulls got the points that saw them going into the semi and us being knocked out, well, we don’t want to return to that kind of scenario,” he admits.
“We were packing our bags ready to go overseas to play the semi, and unfortunately we didn’t get that far. That was a bad feeling because we didn’t have our destiny in our own hands, and like he said, on Saturday, if we lose or don’t do well, we can only blame ourselves.
“We are ready for it though. It’s a big weekend and hopefully the fans will come out and support us, cheer us on. That’s what we need from them, to help us, and we will give them something to cheer about.”Tweet