The last time Jean Deysel played against the Crusaders in Christchurch, he spent the night after the game with mixed emotions.

The Crusaders are ready for their semifinal against the Sharks, expecting a strong set piece from the South Africans to be matched by an 'All Black' tight five and two AB skippers playing in the loose. Kieran Read, Richie McCaw and coach Todd Blackadder keen for finals football.

His team pulled off an epic win, but he had been sent off after 16 minutes for an incident in which a rush of blood to the head resulted in him lashing out with a boot at the head of a Crusaders player.

Deysel was suspended for three weeks.

"I certainly aim to make more of a contribution this time, even if it is off the bench," he said with a chuckle, speaking from the Sharks' base at a resort near Christchurch.


"The lesson the guys learned from my sending off in that game is that the only guys you can count on are your mates in the same jersey, and you have to work for each other because nobody else can do it for you. They worked even harder to make up for my sending off."

The Crusaders were probably guilty of expecting things just to happen because they had a numerical superiority - at one stage the Sharks had only 13 players for 10 minutes after a sin binning.

"You can't rely on things just falling into place," Deysel said. "You are not always going to get the bounce of the ball or the refereeing decisions. Each game has a life of its own, and the only thing you should be able to count on is that the guy next to you is putting in 110 per cent, and you are doing the same for the teammates alongside you."

Deysel is likely to come on for the final quarter and he says he is primed to throw body and soul into what could be his final appearance in a Sharks jersey, as he is moving to Japan.

"There is a lot of emotion for me as I come to the end of my Sharks career, and there are a lot of guys that are also emotional about this season because they got to the 100 game mark for the Sharks this year, guys like [brothers] Jannie du Plessis and Bismarck du Plessis.

"These guys are really fired up for a fairytale ending to this campaign."

24 Jul, 2014 5:00am
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Bismarck has been in ferocious form of late.

"Bismarck is really leading from the front, he is the first player into a ruck and the last player out of it," Deysel said. "The way he is leading the team, there is no way you can look him in the eye in the change room after the game if you have not given everything you can possibly give."

How much do the Sharks take out of that historic win in Christchurch in May?

"You take the belief that you can beat them on their home turf and you discard everything else," Deysel said. "It is a new ball game and they have a number of their star players back (such as Kieran Read, Andy Ellis, Daniel Carter and Israel Dagg). And you also draw on the memories of how the players worked for each other. Otherwise you don't dwell on past glories. They are not going to help in the here and now."

The Sharks are happy to cultivate an underdog status because it suits the South African mentality of backs-to-the-wall rugby to prove everybody wrong.

"The pressure is all on the Crusaders," Deysel said. "They are expected to win. They have had a weekend off to freshen up, they have all their stars back and have 18 All Blacks in their squad and have a parochial home crowd. All we have to do is go out and play to our potential and play for each other and then see which way the cards fall."