Thahir Asmal writes that Cell C Sharks prop Lourens Adriaanse believe their will be extra pressure on the Sharks now that they are no longer Super Rugby leaders.
The Durban franchise were overtaken by the Waratahs at the top of the table over the weekend, with the Australians three points clear after comprehensively winning their game in hand, 39-8 against the Brumbies.
“I think so (there’ll be extra pressure), but I think there’s pressure in every game,” Adriaanse said on Tuesday.
“It will be important to keep the focus on our own game, try to do the best we can and give ourselves the best opportunity to win.”
Jake White’s men face the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein this week, before hitting the road to take on the Stormers in Cape Town in the final Super Rugby round-robin game next weekend.
Victory in their last two matches would still ensure a top-two finish and a home semi-final, as well as hopes of hosting the August 2 final.
It would also give the Sharks an additional bye on the first weekend of the play-offs.
“The way things stand, if we can win both games then we’ll have a home semi-final,” Adriaanse said.
“So the two games are very important for us.”
The 26-year-old had played in every game for the Sharks this season, although all his appearances had been off the bench.
“I think the coach has managed the guys well through the season and used them the way he felt was best for the team.
“Going into the next few games, we’ll have to see with the team selection. As a player you would hope to play a decent amount of rugby.”
Adriaanse, who was in the Springbok squad for the recent June Test window without playing a single game, would come up against his former team-mates this weekend and felt they would be psyched for the contest despite already being eliminated from the competition.
“The Cheetahs are a well-balanced side with threats all over the team,” he said.
“They’re dangerous from anywhere on the pitch and will be up for it.
“They’ll be looking to build towards the Currie Cup and gain some momentum. The guys leaving will also have a point to prove, so they’ll be dangerous.” – Sapa