Sharks will show fans a refocused team

2017-08-03 06:02

AFTER the “Lord Mayor’s Show” comes the Currie Cup and as round two of the Currie Cup looms on Saturday against the Pumas in Durban, the Sharks need to do more than recognise where they have gone wrong in the Super Rugby season.

These days, the Currie Cup is a poor cousin to Super Rugby, especially for the franchises involved, but for the likes of the Pumas and Griquas, it’s still the benchmark competition for them to build a reputation, earn respect and produce players for the future.

Sharks fans have not had a trophy since 2014 and now want something to be proud of, especially after a 47-12 hiding from the Cheetahs, the defending champions, in Bloemfontein, last Friday.

The Pumas opened their Currie Cup season with a 43-36 win against the Lions­ in Nelspruit. They always stand up well to the Sharks, although they may find the going a touch tougher in Durban. The Sharks should get a win to their name as they embark on a tight schedule that sees them welcome Griquas next Saturday, followed by a
Wednesday clash against the Bulls in Pretoria and the Lions at the weekend in Johannesburg. Three. How the Sharks will perform in the pressure of three matches in a week will determine their Currie Cup journey.

Monday was the first training session of the week and, as has been the norm since the beginning of the year, it all comes down to the players, their attitude, their approach and their experience. Sharks hooker Franco Marais said the Durban team are not taking the Currie Cup lightly. “We had the day off on Monday to get the mindset right again after a long Super Rugby season. We are keen for the Currie Cup as we have something to prove this year after last time and we have no excuses,” he said.

“In training and mentally, Super Rugby is behind us and the guys are refocused on what lies ahead. Hopefully that will be seen on Saturday. It is up to us as players to determine how we play and what results we get. “After the Cheetahs match, we have to get back to winning and play for the badge, otherwise we shouldn’t be here,” said Marais. “With some of our Super Rugby players playing this weekend, there should be a huge difference in how the game pans out. There is no reason we cannot show that same intensity and determination we showed against the Lions.” The match against the Pumas kicks off at 5 pm and will be telecast on SS1. - David Knowles.

In training and mentally, Super Rugby is behind
us and the guys are
refocused on what lies ahead

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