On Saturday evening at 7.30pm, we will be hosting the Kings at Growthpoint KINGS PARK in a fourth round Vodacom Super Rugby derby clash, our first of the tournament against South African opposition.
The Kings defeated the Sunwolves in Week two of the competition to send a message that they will be competitive this year and indeed pushed the Stormers hard last week. They will come to Durban with plenty of fire in their bellies.
For the Cell C Sharks, Saturday’s game is the first local derby after playing three Australian teams on consecutive weekends. After a thoroughly engrossing home victory over the Waratahs last week, our team will be looking for successive wins at Growthpoint KINGS PARK and extend our run of victories to three.
The Africa Conference Two log table is fairly jammed up, the all three of the Cell C Sharks, Jaguares and Lions sitting on nine points, all with two wins apiece, while the Kings are in fourth with four log points. Playing – and winning – within your own conference is vitally important to maintain top of the log status, which we hold thanks to a superior points’ differential.
This week, there’s a Super Rugby debut for Benhard Janse van Rensburg who head coach Robert du Preez worked with at Pukke and knows him well. Short of calling him a complete all-rounder, he certainly suggests that Janse van Rensburg has all the attributes necessary to take over from Pat Lambie.
“He played really well against the Blue Bulls XV [last week], I’m confident in his game management and I’m confident that he will handle the pressure of the game,” du Preez explains. “He’s a very good communicator which for me is really important in a pivotal position like flyhalf. He’s a brilliant defender so no-one is going to come through that channel and he has a good kicking game.”
Looking at the opposition, du Preez agrees that blunting the Kings’ flair forms a big part of their game management plan this weekend after the PE side showed good attacking intent against the Stormers.
“Our defence last week against the Waratahs was good and we want to step that up and pressure them defensively.”
Tera Mtembu is enjoying a run of good form and this week, takes over the captaincy from Lambie, something he is no stranger to.
“I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve received, but I’m taking it one game at a time and enjoying myself on the field,” he explains.
He too warns that the Kings are going to be tough opposition. They will be hurting after last week’s loss to the Stormers. The conceded 14 points – two converted tries – in the final five minutes of their game and will be looking to bounce back, as well as finish stronger to avoid a repeat of that late flurry of points conceded.
“The Kings are a quality side and in last week’s game against the Stormers, the scoreline doesn’t reflect the game, they played really well.
“We expect them to come firing this week as well, which means we need to play really well if we want to get the result.”