The Vodacom Bulls take on the Cell C Sharks in what is set to be a grueling contest between the two sides in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The two sides met before the end-year break in December, and it was the team from Durban that claimed the bragging rights from that encounter, winning the game 30-16 at home.
The Vodacom Bulls are aware of the daunting task that lies ahead when the Springbok-laden coastal side visits Tshwane.
“In the previous game we struggled a little bit in the set-pieces, especially scrum time, and that gave the Cell C Sharks a lot of opportunities to get into our 22-metre area and convert their opportunities into points,” Vodacom Bulls lock, Ruan Nortje, reflected on the previous encounter between the sides.
The 23-year-old second-rower has been one of the most consistent performers in the blue jersey over the past year, earning the respect of both teammates and opposition.
Despite the feather in the Vodacom Bulls’ cap of having obtained two back-to-back wins over the Emirates Lions in the past fortnight, Nortje believes his side has some work to do ahead of the clash against the Cell C Sharks.
“We have quite a few work-ons for ourselves from the past weekend. There are a few a few departments that will need us to step up,” said the workhorse lock.
“We now have another massive opportunity to play the Cell C Sharks again. They are a quality side, and it will be great to test ourselves against some of the best players in the country.
“A massive step up will be required from us at scrum time this weekend, and also at the breakdown. We will just need to work hard this weekend and we will need to step it up if we want to perform against the Cell C Sharks.”
The side from Durban suffered a 20-10 defeat to the DHL Stormers at the weekend. Nortje is convinced that their opponents will come out stronger this weekend as they try to get back to winning ways.
“The Cell C Sharks are a quality side with lots of internationals, so I don’t think the past weekend’s result will affect them in any way. They will be ready to bounce back,” he said.
The match between the Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks will kick-off at 17h05 on Saturday. The match will be televised on SuperSport.