“We’ve Really Shown Our True South African Fighting Spirit” – Phepsi Buthelezi


With a run of outstanding form for the Cell C Sharks, the saying, ‘Winning is a habit’ has never rung more true and they will look to continue their successes when they host the Emirates Lions at Hollywoodbets Kings Park on Friday evening.

Fresh off a winning performance against Bordeaux last week, Cell C Sharks eighthman Phepsi Buthelezi admits that the team is riding a wave of confidence that they will take forward.

“We’re in a really good place at the moment to be honest, we’ve enjoyed a good run having won three games in a row and the mood in the camp is really high.”

The challenges faced by the Cell C Sharks of late have been immense and all the travel and changing weather conditions might be viewed in a negative light. On the flip-side, as Buthelezi explains, it’s had quite the opposite effect.

“I’m not going to lie, the travel has been really tough, but it’s something we’ve embraced. We’ve really shown our true South African fighting spirit and we’ve really enjoyed spending time with one another and how well we recover is something we’ve put a big focus on.”

With a good run of form in their back pocket, the Cell C Sharks are clearly doing something right.

“The biggest thing has been our process during the week,” he explains. “It’s something we looked at in terms of how we prepare for games physically, mentally and emotionally and it’s something we’ve paid a lot of attention to.

“We feel it’s given us the kind of performances that delivered the results and which we’re striving towards.”

With attention now shifting back to the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, in fact not much changes with the same focus, ambitions and personnel.

“We’ve really addressed those areas and while we’re playing in a different competition on Friday, it’s still the same squad and we are going to carry that momentum through.

“If you look at the URC log at the moment, we’re not where we want to be, so that’s something we definitely want to change,” he admits. “We’re really targeting this game and the next few; we want to put our hands up and get to where we want to be, not only in terms of the log but building some consistency, especially in the URC.

“We feel that we have been very inconsistent where we’ve put in some good performances and then some really poor ones, and that’s something we’ve addressed over the past couple of weeks and it’s something we feel we’re getting right.”

It’s derby time and the Lions, unbeaten in their three December matches to date, will bring their own belief and confidence into this game.

“We know that it’s going to be a typical South African derby, very physical, and it means a lot to both teams. Yes, you want to beat the overseas teams but you also really want to win your local games. The Lions are on a good run at the moment so they’re a team that’s also on the up and up.

“For us, it’s about focusing on what we have to bring to the game. We feel that as a team and a whole squad, we haven’t really shown the world and especially South Africa what we can really do.

“So we want to really go out there on Friday and make our fans proud as well as everyone else that’s rooting for us.

“We’re in a good place and looking forward to the game.”