When it comes to derby time, it doesn’t get much more heated than when the Cell C Sharks and Vodacom Bulls meet, which is the case for tonight’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash between the two rivals.
Growthpoint KINGS PARK can expect another huge game as the Cell C Sharks look to maintain their successful record at home this year – they haven’t lost once – while the Bulls come to Durban looking to prove that they are much better than their log position suggests.
There has been a month long break from Super Rugby and with that, comes the question of continuity is broken, along with the loss of players injured during international duty.
Players not considered for this match include Beast Mtawarira, Jean-Luc du Preez, Kobus van Wyk and Lwazi Mvovo who are all carrying slight niggles. But head coach Robert du Preez confirmed that all four are expected to be ready for the Lions’ game.
“It’s really important for us that for this game we regain our momentum,” said the coach. “We have the Bulls, then a bye, then the Lions but our squad depth is being tested which means a fantastic opportunity for the guys who have come in.”
While Super Rugby breaks for the June internationals, it could mean that players have a long break, but it transpired that most were involved in some form of competitive rugby in the last couple of weeks which should alleviate any symptoms of rustiness.
“The players do need a break, they played 13 weeks on the trot, and a month is a long time, but we had players with the Boks and SA ‘A’ team and a number who were available played for the Sharks XV team against Free State, so there has been some match action for almost everyone.”
The expectations are that this match against the Bulls is going to be a hugely competitive encounter.
“It’s a derby and Bulls-Sharks derbies are always tough encounters, they have nothing to lose and that makes them really dangerous,” said du Preez.
“They have exciting backs, with the Springbok center pairing with a very tough pack of forwards. We’re going to need to get ascendancy up front.”
Along with the traditional Bulls style of looking to dominate up front, they have evolved their game plan to include 15 man rugby, which makes them all the more dangerous.
“They will definitely run the ball when they get the opportunity, whereas in the past, they were more kicking orientated, but they have the backs to run. I think we can expect a mixed bag of them.
“Winning is really important because that builds confidence, winning is everything. And with that, we want to get momentum going, and taking that into the Lions game. But it really is just taking it one game at a time.”
The match kicks off at 7 pm this evening at Growthpoint KINGS PARK.