Sport / Rugby

Heinz Schenk
2 minute read
21 Feb 2019
3:38 pm

Sharks don’t want to become another ‘statistic’

Heinz Schenk

Playing at home is a bit of a curse in Super Rugby at the moment.

Robert du Preez (Head Coach) of the Cell C Sharks during the Cell C Sharks press conference at Jonsson Kings Park on February 21, 2019 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

One of the more freakish themes of last weekend’s opening round of Super Rugby was that six out of the seven matches ended with the away team winning.

The Sharks were one of those sides, powering to a handsome 45-10 victory over the Sunwolves in Singapore.

ALSO READ: Why Robert du Preez might be more potent than people think

Yet that promising performance arguably only increases the necessity for them to be at their best in Saturday’s first home game of the season against the Blues at Kings Park.

After all, the Durbanites don’t want to become another statistic.

“That’s a massive consideration,” said coach Robert du Preez on Thursday.

“It’s really important for us that we win all our home games. If we want to be contention for the playoffs later on, then you’ve got make sure you do that. This first one is a big one for us, especially in terms of laying a platform.”

Not that the Sharks will lack any confidence after a surprisingly clinical showing last week.

“A first game of the campaign is always very important and we’re very happy to have come away with a bonus point,” said skipper Louis Schreuder.

“More importantly, we’ve had a good follow-up week. We trained well and there are no serious injuries.”

Naturally, the aftermath of that performance reflected in Du Preez’s selections, with the only two changes being on the bench.

“I just felt that was the type of showing where we deserved to give the guys another chance,” said the Sharks mentor.

“The youngsters in particular that have trained with us all the way – Kerron van Vuuren, Pepsi Buthelezi, Khutha Mchunu and Aphelele Fassi – have been fantastic.”

Sharks: Aphelele Fassi, S’bu Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am, Andre Esterhuizen, Makazole Mapimpi, Robert du Preez jr, Louis Schreuder (c), Dan du Preez, Tyler Paul, Jacques Vermeulen, Ruan Botha, Hyron Andrews, Coenie Oosthuizen, Akker van der Merwe, Beast Mtawarira. Bench: Kerron van Vuuren, Juan Schoeman, Thomas du Toit, Gideon Koegelenberg, Pepsi Buthelezi, Cameron Wright, Jeremy Ward, Curwin Bosch.

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