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Turnbull confident Cardiff can go toe-to-toe with South African hosts

First Team News | 24th November 2022

Josh Turnbull is confident Cardiff can go toe-to-toe with their hosts when they take on Cell C Sharks in Durban on Sunday (KO 4.10pm GMT).

The Blue and Blacks landed in South Africa earlier this week for the first encounter in a BKT United Rugby Championship double header at the Rainbow Nation.

Cardiff head into the clash having already overcome a South African outfit - defending champions DHL Stormers - at home earlier in the season.

But now Turnbull is targeting a first win on South African soil since 2019,  and believes his side are capable of firing shots to cause Sharks problems on Sunday.

The club captain said: “With the results we’ve already had this season, we can be confident that we can come out here and cause the Sharks some problems.

“As a squad, we’re trying to change the perception and show that we can compete with these teams.

“We’ve got a real strong squad out here and are only missing the five internationals, really.  It’s going to be a real squad effort these next couple of weeks and the squad here now is ultimately what we have during these international periods.

“These are the periods that are most vital for us if we want to really kick on later in the season. 

“We’ve shown glimpses of what we can do this season, but maybe we haven’t done that for a full 80 minutes or throughout the whole game.

“However, we’re definitely capable of putting in a huge performance. We just need to be right in the mix to fire those shots when it comes to it.”

Tries from Theo Cabango and Jason Harries and an impressive solo performance from Rhys Priestland steered Cardiff to win over Stormers at the Arms Park last month.

Turnbull believes it was a sign of how Cardiff learned lessons from previous encounters, and wants Cardiff to execute their game-plan with similar efficiency on Sunday.

The Welsh international added: “You can see there’s a DNA that runs through all the South African sides and even into their international team. They’re very set piece-orientated and they get heavy collisions in terms of doubling up on people both in attack and defence.

“You look at them, and if you give them too much time or kick loosely to them, they will punish you from deep as well.

“We learned our lessons from playing against the Stormers last year and we rectified that. We kicked a little shorter and we got the ball back. Contestable kicks is a strength of our game and we caused them problems on the back end of that.

“You can see that in the tries we scored against them at home this year.

“Now I’m not saying the game plan will be the same this weekend, but it’s about wanting to go out and execute our game plan to the same efficiency.”