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Blues face revived Sharks

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Sportal.co.nz     26 Jun 2013     Getty Images

The New Zealanders have been forming up in the Natal hotbed in dribs and drabs and have so far managed only light training runs as a result.

Midfield back Jackson Willison is no stranger to the South African experience having made the long journey for the fifth time in his career but said now that the team is almost complete it is time to switch on to the challenge ahead for the side.

The game is in the 'must win' category for the Blues if they are to retain their top six aspirations.

"I'm sure the Sharks will still be pretty positive. They like to throw the ball around like we do," he told Sportal.

While the Sharks have had their coaching controversy to cope with during their break, the Blues had a shorter break than most other sides due to their international with France.

Willison said he enjoyed the opportunity to play France.

"You could certainly feel it is was a level up from Super Rugby and you got a sense of what it was like to play at international level," he said.

"There were some good players in that [French] team. It was a big step up physically and mentally. I think we were there physically, but not quite there mentally."

But now it is about getting back into the Super Rugby frame. He felt the experience the likes of Charles Piutau and Steven Luatua had in making their debuts would be a boost for the side.

"This week so far the training has been fairly light but hopefully the pressure to win will bring out the best in us," he said.

With the Cheetahs performing so well it would a boost for the side to go into that game next week with a win over the Sharks.

Willison, who has had a mixed season of opportunities with the side, said he got some opportunities early on in the season and felt he had taken them.

"I can definitely get a bit better. There are always work-ons but things are getting better slowly but surely.

"If the season ended tomorrow I would be happy with my progress this year," he said.