Sharks cut out errors

2014-09-29 00:00

THE Sharks’ 53-24 drubbing of the EP Kings on Saturday afternoon has laid a solid platform to defend their Currie Cup title.

Despite struggling at scrum time, the Sharks produced what was close to a complete performance, securing a bonus point before the half-time whistle.

“We are very happy, I think in some ways you are always looking to improve. We scored some fantastic tries and it was a nice combination of the forwards working hard upfront scoring some mauling tries and the backs putting some finishing touches as well,” Sharks coach Brad Macleod-Henderson said after the game.

He was not too concerned about a tough day in the scrums as the Sharks dominated the line­out — creating a catch-22 situation.

“They pretty much had four locks playing in the second row, which added a bit more weight and power to their scrum, but then you see how dominant our lineout was. So in some ways you win on one hand and lose on the other, but the scrum is certainly an area we will be looking at improving for the weekend,” he said.

There were plenty of positives to consider from the win. The Sharks’ attack continues to improve and they have managed to cut out errors that cost them in the middle stages of the competition. That could be put down to the presence of players like Lionel Cronjé, who once again bamboozled the Kings’ defence.

“He was very good. I think he played a fantastic game, he controlled things nicely, kicked out of hand well, communicated well so we are very happy with his performance,” Macleod-Henderson said of Cronjé’s performance.

Another standout was man of the match Etienne Oosthuizen. Having shifted from lock to blindside flank in the Currie Cup, the burly 21-year-old carried the ball superbly well and put in some bone-jarring hits on defence.

“Etienne is a tough guy, he is a big strong boy and he is still young so he has done really well. It’s great to see him get man of the match today — he deserved that,” the coach said.

Kings coach Carlos Spencer was not too dejected even after their eighth consecutive loss.

“I think I’m over getting disappointed now. A lot of frustration — we let ourselves down big time in the first half and the yellow card cost us. I thought defensively we were poor, we made a couple of crucial errors and when you are chasing the game it’s always difficult,” he said.

“But like I said to them, I was very proud of their second-half performance. I thought they showed great character and played some great rugby …”

It’s now crunch time for the Sharks as they prepare to face the two strongest sides in the next two weeks.

“It’s a six-day turnaround; we’ve got the Lions on Friday night. We know they have a strong scrum, they’ve had great continuity from Super 15, they like to play an exciting brand of rugby and they like to keep the ball in hand,” Macleod-Henderson said.

“We will obviously need to sort our scrum out, defensively we will need to be strong and we will look for a few chinks in their armour that we will try to exploit,” the coach added.

SCORERS

Sharks: Tries: Lourens Adriaanse, Lwazi Mvovo, Andre Esterhuizen, Lionel Cronje, Paul Jordaan (2), Stephan Lewies. Conversion: Lionel Cronje (6). Penalties: Cronje (2).

Eastern Province Kings: Tries: Paul Schoeman, Shane Gates, Tim Whitehead. Conversion: Gary van Aswegen (3). Penalty: Van Aswegen.

RESULTS

Saturday

Griquas 8 - 46 Golden Lions

Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province Kings

Friday

Free State Cheetahs 22 - 31 Blue Bulls

Pumas 23 - 37 Western Province

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