Smit on the Bullring battle

Sharks captain John Smit says his team will not fall into the “derby day mentality” when they take on the Bulls in Saturday’s do or die Vodacom Super 14 match at Loftus.

Smit said the Sharks would treat the game as they would any other in the competition.

“It is a massive game but then so is every single Super 14 match we play,” he told the Mercury. “We have learned the hard way over the years that if you get sucked into the derby day rubbish you lose your focus on how you want to play the match.

“A very effective weapon for us against the Cats a fortnight ago was our refusal to sink into the derby day mentality. We did not retaliate to physical indiscretions against us, we kept our discipline and we were soon on top in the game.

Smit said it was time for South African teams to stop pummelling each other in the Super 14.

“From a national point of view, it would be great if the derby day street fights became a thing of the past and both teams focused on the rugby. I think we are getting there. We are finding some maturity at last . . . it has taken long enough!”