Sharks captain Lukhanyo Am says he and his teammates cannot afford to be complacent when they face a ‘team on the rise’ in the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.
The Sharks are coming off a thrilling 32-29 victory over the Vodacom Bulls in Durban this past weekend, which reduced the Pretoria team’s lead at the top of the Currie Cup standings to five points.
It was also a confidence booster for the Sharks, who appear to be hitting form at the right time after opening their Currie Cup campaign with a comfortable 45-10 victory over the Pumas.
‘It was definitely important,’ Am said about the win over the Bulls. ‘I think, coming back from a bye, the boys were nice and refreshed. Managing to get the result was a massive confidence boost for us going forward.
‘We have been together for a while. Credit to the impact players who came off the bench to close out the game for us. It’s definitely a work-on for us to play for the full 80 minutes. Against the Bulls, we did manage to do that, even though we did have a dip, early in the second half, the boys managed to pull it off in the end.
‘We are starting to do the small things right. We are also trying to build momentum, but we are taking it week by week. We are slowly getting back to where we want to be.’
However, the men are now set to embark on a crucial period in their season, with two successive away games against fellow title-challengers the Lions and Cheetahs.
The Lions themselves have hit a bright run of form, having beat the Cheetahs 39-23 in Bloemfontein over the weekend.
‘I expect another exciting game,’ Am said on this weekend’s clash. ‘We know they are a good side that likes to keep possession and keep the ball moving. It’s going to be a challenge for us. Going to Ellis Park, we are definitely going to have to bring our A-game. They are definitely a team on the rise, coming back from a win against the Cheetahs, they will be a tough side to face.’
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images