“We Know We Have To Be Ready For Everything Against Vodacom Bulls” – Ox Nche

 

Most of the Rugby World Cup winning Springboks were re-introduced to the Hollywoodbets Sharks side to play their part in the team’s 10-try rout of the visiting Dragons, but the job is not yet done as they will need to continue the intensity again this weekend against the Vodacom Bulls.

They returned from France with a real buzz, an emotion contagious in the Hollywoodbets Sharks’ camp and the result was demonstrative.

“You can’t get over that buzz, I know I’ll stay excited for the next four years, but yes, I’m still feeling pretty positive,” prop Ox Nche admits with a laugh.

Motivating themselves at franchise level after the World Cup might be considered difficult given the heights of emotion the players reached at international level, but as a professional, Nche admits it’s not difficult.

“For me it’s about the challenge. As a player, I just want to get better so I want to keep lifting standards and I can’t now do less than I did for the Springboks, so it’s all about setting those standards and keeping them high.”

The return of the Springboks saw the Hollywoodbets Sharks scoring 10 tries, but was it all due to the Bok players?

“I don’t think so,” he says. “If you look at the games, they’ve all been played the same way, it’s just the finishing touches where the team lacked a bit of detail. Everyone just gave a little bit more and we’ve been expecting the dam wall to break; it did this past weekend. Hopefully we can take that momentum through to the rest of the season.”

After the big win, the mood in the camp has lifted several notches which bodes well for what is to come.

“When we [the Springboks] got here, there was a sense of excitement, but after the win, the guys understand that what we are doing and how we are playing can win us games and we can make it happen. I’ve picked up that it’s a mindset thing, the sense of belief seems to be there now.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash against the Bulls, Nche admits that the match is all about maintaining the standards they set and accomplished this past weekend.

“This game is crucial because we can’t put in a good performance like we did against Dragons and think everything will just happen for us. We’ve got the momentum started, we need to keep it moving.

“The Bulls have been playing amazing rugby, they’re gelling and this is going to be a big task that really tests us. We know we have to be ready for everything they bring or we’ll come off second best.

“The front row battle is going to be very competitive, Wilco Louw has a good reputation, so we need to have plans to neutralise him and the rest of the front row. And not just their front row, the pack all work together and follow their plan well.

“Their pack has been putting teams away at set-piece time so it’s going to be a massive challenge. We have to be up for it.”