Gelant is the Bulls' danger man‚ says Sharks' Daniel ahead of semifinal

17 October 2017 - 14:23
By Khanyiso Tshwaku
Keegan Daniel during the Cell C Sharks training session at Growthpoint Kings Park on October 17, 2017 in Durban, South Africa.
Image: Steve Haag/Gallo Images Keegan Daniel during the Cell C Sharks training session at Growthpoint Kings Park on October 17, 2017 in Durban, South Africa.

Veteran Sharks loose-forward Keegan Daniel has been there‚ done it and got the T-shirt with the Sharks.

He’s experienced his fair share of Currie Cup ups and downs with better sides but coach Robert du Preez has put together a formidable team this season.

They are a team who have book-ended their round-robin fixtures with losses to the Free State Cheetahs and Western Province while sandwiching a 10-match unbeaten run that earned them a home semifinal.

The Blue Bulls lie in wait after Saturday’s 31-20 slip-up against Western Province at home‚ an aberration Daniel said has come at the right time for them.

“No one goes out to lose a game. We were definitely off-key for quite a bit and it was a game of two halves‚” ‚” Daniel said.

“I thought we were in it in the first half and they ran away with the game in the second half.

“We weren’t tactically clinical and it was a good wakeup call. It’s a game we’ll put behind us because the main focus is now on knockout rugby.

“There’s only a handful of us who have won trophies for the Sharks and there are a couple of guys who have won trophies at other unions.

“We’ll rely on that mix of experience but for the youngsters who are experiencing finals rugby for the first time‚ it’s exciting.”

A Jekyll-and-Hyde team like the Blue Bulls are difficult to prepare for and contain.

They are prone to high scoring and defensive lapses on the same scales‚ as their 64-36 win against the Cheetahs and the 52-32 triumph against the Pumas suggest.

However‚ the Bulls have also been on the receiving end of 51-15 and 46-45 losses against the Pumas and Western Province that speak volumes about the work John Mitchell’s side still need to apply on defence.

The Sharks have had their own lapse‚ with Saturday’s defeat seeing them concede 28 points in 16 second-half minutes after having a 10-point half-time lead. Such soft moments are fatal in knockout matches.

Daniel is aware of this and said the Bulls unit they twice beat in the round-robin stages will be far different to the one they will be facing on Saturday.

“Finals rugby is different and the Bulls have improved immensely under John Mitchell‚” Daniel said.

“They’re not playing their traditional rugby. They are playing a nice brand of rugby and they’ve got a couple of dangerous guys who are finding their feet with the talk of the town being Warrick Gelant. He’s their danger man at 15.

“It’s going to be about the team that are most clinical in terms of execution on the day as there’s no time for the fancy stuff.

“It's also going to be about the team who do the basics very well and we’ve got a pretty good gameplan that we’ve stuck to throughout the season‚ and we'll need to implement that on the weekend.”