- Western Province and the Sharks will be meeting for the first time this season.
- Covid-19 has got in the way of their Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup fixtures.
- Sharks captain Lukhanyo Am isn't fazed by the Sharks' dodgy away form against the big teams.
One of the oddities, but unfortunate outcomes of playing rugby in a Covid-19 environment is that some matches will be cancelled.
When the Sharks and Western Province meet at Newlands on Saturday in one of the Currie Cup semi-finals, it'll be the first clash between the two side since rugby returned late last year.
Sharks captain Lukhanyo Am laughed off the coincidence, but the Sharks and the Stormers were the last SA teams to play in the 2020 Super Rugby tournament before Covid-19 got in the way.
They haven't met since, with the 21 November Super Rugby Unlocked date cancelled.
The same applied to the Currie Cup fixture between the Sharks and Western Province that was scheduled for 9 January.
"We were supposed to have played each other twice and both games were called off. It’s made us prepare better and look at the opportunities that we could be having. It's going to be exciting to face them for the first time since Covid-19 struck," Am said.
The Sharks also haven’t been convincing in away games against the big teams.
While their best performance this season was their 32-29 home win against the Bulls on 12 December, the away defeats to the Lions and the Cheetahs exposed the Sharks pack.
In Super Rugby Unlocked, they were royally crushed by the Bulls where again, the Sharks forwards were put under extreme pressure.
With this semi-final being an away game, there’s every likelihood of the fear of the Sharks slipping up.
Am though said their away form against the big teams shouldn't count for much in a play-off game where what has come before matters little.
"It's not something we've looked deep into. Games change from week to week and that also affects how we prepare for matches, selection and other rugby related stuff. We're not going to look at things like travelling badly," Am said.
"Going to Newlands is a must win for both teams and it's a big game. There's motivation to win. We're excited to be going there and winning there will put us in a good position of playing the final regardless of where it will be. We know what we can produce and what we're capable of when we are playing away.”