‘We won’t roll over and die’

2011-06-15 00:00

THE Sharks will be up and ready for the Bulls in the must-win Super Rugby derby at Loftus on Saturday, scrumhalf Charl McLeod said yesterday.

McLeod said the players were desperate not to make a premature exit from the tournament.

“We don’t want to go on holiday a week early,” said the scrumhalf.

“Our tournament is at stake, everyone will be up for the game and we will give everything,” he added.

McLeod said the Sharks had performed well at Loftus in the past.

“We’ve beaten them before up there so we know we can do it,” he said and added that the forwards were “hurting” after conceding two tries to the driving Lions pack at Ellis Park at the weekend.

“They come out of the tunnel charging,” he said.

McLeod conceded that the Bulls would be in much the same frame of mind.

“I expect the same old physical approach from them. They had a poor start to season but reverted back to what has worked for them over the years. They’ve been doing that accurately and I think they will stick to that,” he said.

“We know what we will face and we just need to stop it,” he added.

McLeod will almost certainly be up against world-class Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez, who has recovered from his knee injury.

“There are no personal challenges,” McLeod said.

“I don’t think you should go into a game like this with that on your mind. The team that plays together best will win the game,” he added.

The Sharks, if they are to stay in the contest, have to contain the bruising Bulls pack and coach John Plumtree said that both Willem Alberts and Jean Deysel will return after missing the Ellis Park game.

“The news is not too good on Odwa Ndungane and we will make a final decision on [tighthead] Jannie du Plessis on Thursday [tomorrow]. He ran quite freely on Monday, but he’s not quite right yet,” said Plumtree.

Plumtree said the Sharks would be very much the underdogs.

“We have plenty to lose and don’t want to be knocked out of this competition. We don’t want to worry about the Brumbies-Waratahs score in Sydney, but we’ll know what we need to do before the game,” he added.

He said the Bulls would also be up for the game.

“There is a lot of emotion with a few of their guys having their last game at Loftus,” he said.

The Bulls, like the Sharks, seem certain to have to travel for their play-off games, if they reach the top six.

Fourie du Preez, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha and Danie Rossouw have all confirmed that they are either retiring or leaving Pretoria after the Rugby World Cup.

“But our boys are very proud.We don’t want to go up there and roll over and die for the Bulls. We want to play some good rugby and that’s our aim.

“If the strategy is right, and the attitude and commitment is there, we can give them a good go,” said Plumtree.

Plumtree paid tribute to the Bulls, who have won their last six games on the trot to stay alive in the competition.

“They’re a great side with some great leaders. They’ve also found some real momentum and they’ll be enjoying what they’re doing. Their confidence would also have been boosted after beating the Stormers in Cape Town last Saturday and they plenty to play for this week,” he said.

“But, so do we,” added Plumtree.

He praised the role of the Sharks’ replacements at Ellis Park and the spirited rearguard action which saw the Sharks snatch a 30-30 draw,

“I was really proud of the boys. We were poor and dead and buried [at 30-9]. But to come back shows the character in the group. We just have to make sure we start like that, and finish like that. It’s no use playing like that for 25 minutes,” Plumtree said.

The Bulls and Sharks will play to a capacity crowd with all the seats for the game selling out by Monday afternoon.

The Bulls, with 53 point, lie fifth in the competition standings and have followed five early losses with six straight wins.

The Sharks are sixth, also on 53 points, with the Waratahs seventh a further point behind.

Jonathan Kaplan has been named as the referee for Loftus, though Sanzar have made late changes to the match officials for the Sharks’ last two games with Marius Jonker taking over from Mark Lawrence in Bloemfontein and Lawrence suddenly replacing Jonker at Ellis Park.

The match kicks off at 5.05 pm on Saturday.

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