“Griquas will come hard at us, they have nothing to lose, but we have so much to gain. We will treat it as a quarter-final.”
The Sharks will treat their trip to Kimberley on Saturday as a Currie Cup “quarter-final”, according to larger-than-life prop Thomas “The Tank” du Toit, (pictured).
It is the Sharks’ last pool match before the semi-finals and Griquas have to be beaten if the Sharks are to guarantee themselves a home play-off.
“Every game in this shortened Currie Cup is a must-win but, yes, this game is vitally important given what is at stake for us,” Du Toit said . “Griquas will come hard at us, they have nothing to lose, but we have so much to gain. We will treat it as a quarter-final.”
Du Toit said that the Sharks are in an especially determined mood after having lost heavily to Western Province in their last outing, at Newlands two weeks ago.
“That was a bit of a wakeup call for us,” he said. “That game exposed some problem areas for us and we had the bye last week to look at how we are going to solve them, so we are excited about playing again this week.
The Sharks took 50 in Cape Town but Du Toit reckons things could be different if the teams meet again in the competition.
“We will probably see them (Western Province) again, and when we do I believe it will be a much better clash for us than the one in Cape Town. Funnier things have happened in the Currie Cup …”
Du Toit returned to the Sharks from the Boks after the away leg of the Rugby Championship and he made an immediate impact in the Sharks’ big win over the Lions at Kings Park.
It contrasted sharply with his unfortunate game against the Lions in round one of Super Rugby earlier this year, when he got smashed in the set scrums at Ellis Park.
“This year has been a rocky road for me, it has been up and down, from being scrummed heavily to finding my feet a bit more at tighthead (he has shifted to the position from loosehead), to settling down and getting opportunities (at the Boks) in a role that I appreciate and love,” Du Toit said.
But the 23-year-old says he is far from the finished product.
“I believe I need about two years before I can fully make my mark as a tighthead in South Africa, which is always going to be difficult given the competition, but something I am going to strive to do,” Du Toit said.
“There are so many good tightheads right now. For a long time there was a shortage but now it seems that there is a flood of quality tightheads. It means you have to work even harder, which is fine because competition raises the bar.”
– Mike Greenaway