The Sharks hit the ground running this week. Having enjoyed a week’s rest after the Province match and then into training last Monday before truly getting some hard work under their belts ahead of the Absa Currie Cup match against Boland this Friday afternoon, the players are fit and raring to go.
Michael Marnewick writes for Sharksrugby.co.za that captain Johann Muller admits that despite the effect the three week break would have on continuity, it was a welcome respite from the weekly punishment meted out to the players’ bodies.
“The break came at a perfect time for us,” he explains. “It’s been quite tough over the past eight weeks, playing week in and week out which is always tough on the body, it’s great to have had a break.
“We had a whole week off and then started training last week again and you could see that the guys are really keen and fired up. They want to do well and train hard again. So the break did come at a great time for us, there were also one or two little injuries that the guys were getting over so the break has been really fantastic in that respect.”
The coaching staff should have just about a full squad to choose from to select a team for the Boland encounter which is an important away match that the Sharks need to win to remain in contention for the play-offs in October.
As mentioned, one thing about the long bye over the period of the home leg of the Vodacom Tri Nations is the break in continuity which in the case of the Sharks, came at a time when they were riding a wave of success and playing some impressive rugby, coming off the back of five pointers against the Griquas and Western Province.
“The break came at a time when we were really playing well,” Muller agrees, “but we did need it and at this stage we just need to maintain confidence and keep playing the kind of rugby we have been playing.
“Rugby is a confidence game. After the win against the Lions – and that’s a good side who beat the Bulls up at Loftus – and great wins against Griquas and Province, the confidence is up, the boys are really keen and looking forward to the rest of the competition.”
He admits that there will be no taking this week’s game or opposition lightly. Boland might be second-last on the log, but there is no doubt that they will be up for this match.
“Absolutely, there is no underestimating them,” says the Sharks Captain. “They are a really good side, especially at home. The Cheetahs only beat them 15-10, the Bulls only scored 25 or 26 points against them down there, the field is heavy and wet and will take us out of our comfort zone, so we are going to have to play really well to beat them down there and to get the points we need so badly.”
He adds that compared to the earlier part of the season, the position the Sharks find themselves currently, third on the log having played some really good rugby, shows a vast improvement. “Yeah, big time! The turnaround in the last few weeks has been fantastic. We got a few players back from injury and the Springboks, and confidence is up, that makes a big difference.
“But we made a decision after the loss to the Cheetahs that things had to change. We changed the way we played as well and that made a lot of difference. There were also individuals putting their hands up and playing some fantastic rugby and that also helps the team.”Tweet