Bulls v Sharks: 'Challenge accepted'
SUPER RUGBY UNLOCKED SPOTLIGHT: The Bulls put down a marker at Loftus Versfeld in the SuperFan Saturday pre-season outing last month.
Now, four weeks later, the Sharks will return with retribution on their minds.
Seldom has a Bulls team done so much damage to their rivals from Durban than in the first half-hour at Loftus Versfeld on September 26.
Scoring five unanswered tries, the Pretoria-based franchise raced into a 35-0 lead – a period of humiliating dominance by the Bulls.
However, the Sharks’ burly Springbok prop Thomas du Toit told a media briefing on Tuesday that they have taken note of the costly errors made and have worked hard to rectify the matter.
After edging the Lions 19-16 in a Round One Super Rugby Unlocked encounter in Durban, the Sharks had a bye last week.
Now they look forward to another trip to Loftus.
“The fantastic thing about rugby is that you get a second chance,” the 25-year-old prop said.
“We get a chance to correct the mistakes we made at Loftus [last month].”
He said set pieces are always an aspect of the game they are working on, especially ahead of a game against the Bulls – who beat the Sharks 49-28 last month, thanks to a dominant forward performance.
“We need to have a massive focus on our set pieces – scrums, line-outs and mauls.
“It [the set piece] is a strength of the Bulls and it is a challenge we accept.”
The 12-times capped Springbok suggested they are ‘quite close’ to regaining the momentum they had when they topped the Super Rugby standings before the COVID-19-enforced lockdown in March.
“The [game] plan hasn’t changed,” Du Toit said, adding: “We have just let ourselves down a little bit.”
* Meanwhile the Sharks will have some additional personnel for this week’s trip to Pretoria.
Last month the Sharks were without the services of a couple of their World Cup stars – Sibusiso Nkosi (chest injury) and Makazole Mapimpi (on a one-year sabbatical with Japanese Top League side Red Hurricanes).
There were also some additional injury concerns.
Back for this week’s trip are Nkosi, hooker Kerron van Vuuren and James Venter.
Yaw Penxe, recently signed from the bankrupt Southern Kings, is also in the selection frame this week.