Sharks coaches encouraged by side’s display

2013-10-15 00:00

THE Sharks have a host of positives to take out of the weekend’s 13-17 Currie Cup loss to Western Province, backline coach Sean Everitt said last night.

The Sharks’ narrow defeat left them second on the log and they face the Free State Cheetahs in the second semi-final at King’s Park on Saturday evening. Log winners Province take on the Golden Lions in the afternoon semi-final at Newlands and they will also host the final if they advance.

Everitt said the Sharks’ coaches had studied the video of Saturday night’s loss in the rain and had been encouraged by what they saw.

“We certainly created a lot of opportunities to win the game and I’m not talking particularly about kicking for poles. We felt that there were a number of positives to take out of the game.”

He said the Sharks had won the battle on the gainline while the defence had been sound apart from the two mistakes made in the build-up to Province’s only try (by Deon Fourie).

“The guys were really committed in defence and overall we feel we won the collisions. Another area we were happy with was our kick-chase and we won the territory battle in the game and shaded them as far as possession is concerned.

“But unfortunately, just a couple of unforced errors cost us. It certainly wasn’t a poor performance.”

He said the Sharks were looking no further than the Free State game now.

“The Cheetahs will be a big challenge for us. They’re very much an improved team now with Springboks Adriaan Strauss and Coenie Oosthuizen back. Adriaan is a fantastic leader and gets a lot out of the Free State team as we saw in the Super Rugby competition.

“They’re a team that can’t ever be under­estimated. They had a good win against the Blue Bulls on Saturday and they’re certainly not the same team we beat well in Durban earlier in the competition.”

Everitt said that the Sharks’ inconsistency at the set pieces was a concern.

“We had 100% lineout success the previous game [against the Blue Bulls] but, unfortunately, we lost a few lineouts against Province. It’s something small that can be fixed and, with the new combinations coming in, it wasn’t easy.”

Everitt praised the contribution made by the returning Springboks against WP.

“I thought each one was committed and played really well, especially after coming off a big game against New Zealand the previous weekend. Obviously getting them back into the team quickly is beneficial to us and by this weekend, and I hope in the final, they’ll be hitting their straps,” the Sharks coach said.

Saturday’s semi-final at King’s Park will kick off at 5 pm, with the earlier game in Cape Town at 2.30 pm.

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