Assistant coach Nick Easter says that the Sharks are bracing themselves for a fierce forward onslaught from the Vodacom Bulls at Kings Park on Saturday.
Easter talked up the Bulls on Tuesday, saying that their humiliating 56-20 loss to the Chiefs at Loftus on Saturday will fuel the Bulls’ desire to deliver in the derby against the Sharks.
‘They will be smarting from what happened to them on the weekend and we know that they will turn up this week. If they didn’t turn up with huge passion and fire, it might give us a false indication of where we’re at. We know the forwards have a heck of a battle on their hands, but we wouldn’t want it any other way,’ Easter said.
‘The Bulls have shown, when they’ve won games, that they’re a pressure team; they like to pin you back in your half, Handré Pollard pulls the strings – they’ve got good leadership there – and they’ll force you into mistakes.’
The Bulls hammered the Sharks 37-14 in their first encounter at Loftus three weeks ago. Easter admits that the Durban-based side was outplayed on that occasion.
‘It’s in the back of our minds, but this is three weeks later and it’s all about continuing the focus on ourselves and how we can improve.
‘We didn’t look after the ball in that game and ill-discipline cost us. We didn’t really turn up, that’s the bottom line,’ he admitted.
Easter called on the Sharks to put that result behind them and focus on the return fixture.
‘This is a different venue, different day and with changes to the team. Our discipline, especially around the attack areas, has to be spot on. We also have to look after the ball better and focus on the detail more.
‘Although you pay attention to the analysis part of the game, the emotional aspect is massive. Simply put, you have to turn up with the emotional intensity required to win South African derbies.’