Home Sport Edinburgh to be ‘better prepared’ for Sharks warns Bongi

Edinburgh to be ‘better prepared’ for Sharks warns Bongi

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experienced hooker Bongi Mbonambi warned that the Sharks can’t focus too much on their opponents, and that they should rather strive to continue with the upwards curve they’ve shown recently.

Bongi Mbonambi of the Hollywoodbets Sharks. Picture: Gerhard Duraan, BackpagePix

Leighton Koopman

Facing a side twice within a couple of weeks can be a tricky challenge, especially if you can’t change too many of your plans.

That is why the Sharks won’t be too focused on which Edinburgh side will pitch up on Saturday for their European Challenge Cup quarter-final in Durban (kick-off 1.30pm).

While the Sharks can plough ahead with all their fit players in a bid to reach the semis, the Scottish club are fighting on two fronts and will have to decide if their strongest outfit will run out in the knockout match and again next week, when they continue their fight for a top-eight spot in the United Rugby Championship (URC) in Scotland.

This can play into the hands of the home side who have set their sights on European Challenge Cup glory after things didn’t click for them in the URC this season.

But experienced hooker Bongi Mbonambi warned that they can’t focus too much on their opponents, and that they should rather strive to continue with the upwards curve they’ve shown recently.

The Sharks are on a three-game winning run at home and will complete a fourth if they prevail over an Edinburgh side coached by their former boss, Sean Everitt.

In their last encounter at Kings Park at the end of March, the Sharks won 23-13 in the URC.

“The fact that it is a quarter-final in a different competition makes it more difficult,” said Mbonambi.

“We know they will come here even better prepared than before. They will play a better team.

“We noticed last time that they were missing a couple of their key players. They just returned from the Six Nations, so they will be fresh and more challenging this time around, especially with a coach like Sean Everitt. He knows how to prepare a team to come here. They are going to come back stronger.”

According to Mbonambi, the short turnaround time between Sunday’s knockout match, where they thrashed Zebre 47-3, and Saturday’s clash will make it even more tricky. But if they keep things simple, and every player buys into the plan, they can go out there and deliver.

“We have to look at ourselves. We must make sure we know our roles and believe in the system and plan. Playing at home also gives us a bit of an advantage.

“The mood in the camp is quite good. All the injured players who are coming back, you can see the difference they make.

“The road to the final won’t be easy. All we can do is focus on the next game and not look too far forward.”

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