“Cell C Sharks Were Timid In Their Physical Commitment” – Yannick Bru


Cell C Sharks needed to adapt to the conditions to secure victory on their maiden visit to France in the Heineken Champions Cup on Friday, according to breakdown coach Yannick Bru.

The South African side made it two wins from two in their debut EPCR campaign as they battled to a 19-16 victory at Union Bordeaux-Bègles on Friday night.

Former France hooker Bru, who lifted the Heineken Cup with Stade Toulousain in 2003 and 2005, says an away success is a requirement for any side hoping to guarantee a spot in the knockout stage.

“We are obviously satisfied, because there are only four games to ensure a qualification, we know that a victory away from home is imperative,” he told AFP.

“The players are really happy to have taken another step towards qualification, that was the objective. They realised that it was very hard to win in France.”

The size of the task facing Cell C Sharks at Stade Chaban-Delmas was immediately obvious as they fell behind to an early Renato Giammarioli try, but after that sluggish start, Bru says his side gained a foothold by playing to their strengths.

“It was a game with many imperfections, that we started very badly,” he said. “We didn’t have a good first half, with a lot of errors of hand. We were timid in our physical commitment.

“The players were surprised by the cold. In the second half, we imposed more of a physical dimension that suits us.

“The forwards played a great second half to win this game against a very valiant Bordeaux team. In the last ten minutes, we felt that everything was possible, on a counter-attack, Bordeaux could come back even if in terms of territory and possession, we had more control of the game.”

Cell C Sharks return to Durban in Round 3, welcoming Bordeaux to Hollywoodbets Kings Park on January 14.