It might be James Parsons’ first tour to South Africa with the Blues, but it’s certainly not holiday mode for the hooker who has only one goal in mind – to win this Saturday’s game against the Sharks.
Currently sitting in eighth position on the Investec Super Rugby ladder with three games remaining, it’s a must-win match for the Blues if they are to have a chance of making the playoffs, and that fact is certainly not lost on 26-year-old Parsons.
“This game is our season in a nutshell,” he said.
“If we don’t win this one the dream’s gone and we’ve put too much hard work in to let it slip now. We’re very mindful of that and very clear on what we want to achieve on Saturday.”
The majority of the Blues arrived in Durban on Sunday to prepare for the clash, with the All Blacks arriving in dribs and drabs throughout the week following their match against France.
Rene Ranger was the last player to arrive last night so the Blues now have a full squad, however Parsons said the gradual arrival of players had not been a disruption to the team’s preparations.
“They’ve brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm into the group from their All Black campaign and we’ll be able to feed off that,” he said.
“Everyone’s pretty excited knowing that it’s do-or-die rugby and finals footy every week from hereon in so we can’t wait to get our there and tear into it.”
It’s certainly no easy task against a Sharks side who will be chomping at the bit in front of their raucous home crowd at King’s Park.
With their head coach John Plumtree departing the club earlier this week and with the Sharks still in with a chance of making the playoffs, the Blues will have to be at their very best to defeat the Natal based franchise.
Parsons is bracing for a typically physical encounter against the Sharks but said the key would be bringing the right mindset from the start.
“It’s always going to be a physical battle like it is against all South African sides but it’s all about the mindset and we need to be up for the physical challenge. As long as we bring the right attitude and the right aggression we’ll be on the right track.”
The Blues team to face the Sharks will be named later on this evening.