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Ken Borland

Sharks will bring pent-up energy after being in home port following three-week tour

Posted on January 16, 2023 by Ken

The Sharks, back in home port in Durban after meeting expectations on their three-week overseas tour, will be bringing a lot of pent-up energy to Loftus Versfeld on Sunday when they tackle the Bulls in a massive United Rugby Championship derby.

Victories on the road against Zebre and the Dragons was followed by a superb attacking showing against Leinster, who only pulled away in the final quarter in Dublin. With the Springboks returning to action, the Sharks exploded in the final half-hour of their homecoming match against the Glasgow Warriors, and there was a real sense of momentum building for their big clash with Ulster last weekend.

And then the match was controversially postponed the day before it was scheduled to happen. The one positive to offset the great disappointment felt at Kings Park is that an even fresher, hungrier Sharks side will now travel to Pretoria this weekend.

“It was quite shocking news to get on the Friday,” prop Ntuthuko Mchunu said on Wednesday. “We had had a really good week of preparation coming off a win, we were looking forward to the festivities of the day.

“And of course we were really looking forward to playing the game, having prepped so well and brushed up on a few things. But at least this week it means we are really fresh and looking forward again.

“It’s always a big game up there, two South African sides going at each other. It’s never easy at Loftus and both teams will front up. We have prepared well for a physical battle at set-piece.

“The Bulls have really good players, but what happened there in the past is past, we’re now looking forward to the future. It’s always a great game against the Bulls,” Mchunu said.

The Sharks will be without half-a-dozen of their frontline Springboks, but Mchunu says there is a real unity within the group remaining behind, following their achievements on the fields of Europe and the fun they had doing some urban sightseeing.

“The one thing the Sharks have done is grow the group. We prepared really well together in pre-season when the Springboks were away, and this team has grown.

“We showed a lot of fight and character against Leinster, it was an awesome tour that really grew us. The combinations worked well together and we want to carry that spirit through to this weekend,” Mchunu said.

The Bulls, meanwhile, are perhaps retreating into one of their laagers as they have been playing hard to get with the Fourth Estate from the start of the week.

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