Van der Walt relishing return to action
The Kingston Park clash is a 3pm kick-off and will be shown live in the UK on BT Sport Extra 2, Van der Walt and his side finally returning to match action after two weeks without a game due to Covid-related cancellations.
Back with a bang against a Harlequins side who have won their last four in the league, the South African said: “It’s all to play for.
“Quins are a very exciting team at the moment who are carrying a lot of confidence. For us that’s a great challenge, we’ll have to be at our best to beat them and it’s a big opportunity.
“One good thing from this past two weeks is that our bodies are really fresh, and from the first second of the game we’ll be getting stuck in.
“Having lost our last home game against Exeter it’s great to get the opportunity to put that right, and any team who comes to Kingston Park needs to know we’re going to protect what is ours.”
Facing a Quins team sitting third in the table, the former Shark said: “We can talk about Harlequins and everyone knows the threats within their side, but we just need to focus on what we do best.
“We’ve given them a lot of respect in terms of how well they’ve done recently and their attacking style of play, but come Saturday if we put pressure on them in the ways that we want to then hopefully we can push them out of their comfort zone.
“They have certain kingpins who get their attack going, and we’ve done our due diligence on them.
“We know what to expect, but from our side the focus is on fronting up, annihilating the threat and containing them.
“If we can do that then the game could be a lot different from what they’ve been used to, but they’re obviously a very good side.”
Having endured a fortnight without training or playing prior to this week, Van der Walt said: “It’s been two weeks that we didn’t ask for, and for the sake of continuity we would have wanted to play.
“But it is what it is, and I think mentally we have to be sharp even though we haven’t been able to train for two weeks. We’re focusing on the positives, we’ve had a good rest and hopefully that energy will be an advantage to us in the end.
“One thing Covid has definitely taught us is that you need to be adaptable, and that has certainly been the case for the boys over the past few weeks.
“We’ve maintained out fitness and kept our bodies in good shape so that we could fire once this week started, and the group has bought into that. Our mind-set has been to seize the moment rather than being too bothered by it, and I think that’s the way it has to be.
“As well as training at home or doing stage one sessions we’ve been keeping in touch with the coaches, and doing some activities over the internet like team quizzes. That was quite nice just to get the group together, and we’re in good order.
“We work hard for each other and it’s disappointing that we’ve not been able to close out our last couple of games, but the beauty of rugby is that there’s always another opportunity just around the corner.”