The Sharks have to beat the Bulls and get a bonus point at Kings Park on Saturday if they are to be in the Rainbow Cup final, which means they have to score four tries.
That will probably mean coach Sean Everitt’s team will try to play an even quicker game against the Currie Cup champions, but captain Lukhanyo Am said on Tuesday that they also have to be smart in how they play.
If the Bulls score four tries and get a bonus point then it probably won’t matter who wins the game because their points difference is so much better than the Sharks that the home team would need to beat them by 34 points just to draw level.
So Am’s charges can’t just throw caution to the wind and go all-out trying to just score as many tries as possible.
“We’re not going to shy away from our DNA, but the Bulls present a different threat to the Lions (who the Sharks played last week) and we need to try and find the balance between running, flashy rugby and smart, tactical rugby on the right side of the field,” Am said.
“We’ll want to bring energy and continuity and we’ll be trying our best to get into the final.”
This will be the last time the likes of Am, Makazole Mapimpi and Siya Kolisi will be playing for the Sharks until the end of the chockablock Springbok schedule towards the end of the year.
The Sharks do, however, have nine players in the extended Springbok squad and their clash with the dominant force in domestic rugby for the last year will be thrilling.
Meanwhile, perhaps the biggest surprise after the Sharks officially confirmed on Tuesday that Stormers hooker Bongi Mbonambi will be joining them at the end of the Lions tour was that the Springbok star had held out for so long before signing his new contract.
Mbonambi was already poised to join the Sharks back in March, when his Roc Nation stablemate Kolisi had already been unveiled as a key signing for the Durban franchise.
The talented 21-year-old Fez Mbatha has been the Sharks’ first-choice hooker recently, but Kerron van Vuuren and part-time flank Dylan Richardson have also had plenty of time in the middle of the front row. Former Maties and SA U20 hooker Dan Jooste is also under contract at Kings Park.