Sharks learn a lesson

2015-02-18 00:00

SHARKS backline coach Sean Everitt is confident his side have learnt their lesson from a poor showing against the ­Cheetahs in Saturday’s 35-29 loss.

The Durban outfit had a busy start to the week on the training pitch focusing on core skills — which let them down last weekend.

“We’re obviously disappointed with the performance that we delivered on Saturday. It was almost like watching a pre-season game. We’ve gone over where we went wrong very carefully and ­identified those mistakes and have worked really hard over the last two days to make it better,” Everitt said.

The Sharks looked rusty against the Cheetahs and although their mistakes were unforgivable, the backline specialist honed in on positive aspects from the match and encouraged his team to play rugby in the right parts on the field.

“There were some good skills out there and a lot of positives as far as our attack is concerned. Yes, the ball is wet because it’s humid here in Durban at this time of the year so we need to be more accurate in the way we go about things. Especially as far as executing in our own half with the ball being like it is, we don’t want play too much rugby in the wrong areas of the field.”

While the murky underworld of ­forward play is not Everitt’s forte, he happily weighed in on the Sharks’ new centre pair — Heimar Williams and Waylon Murray — who played considerably well considering it was their first taste of Super Rugby as a midfield combination.

“Heimar and Waylon really went well and we were happy with their defence and the way they attacked. It’s not easy to come into Super Rugby with two new boys in the midfield but I thought they did really well for themselves.”

Fans can expect the pair to feature in the starting XV for the next few weeks before Springbok and Sharks stalwart Frans Steyn returns from Japan.

“Obviously with a guy like Frans Steyn, when he comes into the selection mix and we see how fit he is, we would look to play our strongest combination. We’ll make that call in two weeks time but at the moment we’re focusing on what we have and Heimar and Waylon have done well and we’ve also got Andre Esterhuizen waiting in the wings,” Everitt said.

Murray seems set to hold onto the ­outside centre berth longer still, while S’bura Sithole might have to content himself playing on the wing for much of the season.

JP Pietersen will also be back in ­Durban in the next three weeks and he is likely to play out wide, although Everitt conceded he could be an option at 13 should injuries strike.

The Sharks will be in for another forward onslaught from the Lions this weekend — made worse by the loss of Springbok loosehead prop “Beast” Mtawarira. Luckily his calf strain is not a bad as initially thought and he should make a return in the next three to six weeks.

Everitt knows just how dangerous the Lions can be having been on the receiving end of a 50-20 mauling in last year’s ­Currie Cup semi final.

“We know what they’re about, they’ve got a strong scrum, a very good lineout and they will look to maul and disrupt our set piece,” Everitt said.

“They made a lot mistakes on the weekend which was not the norm — they were pretty accurate in the Currie Cup last year and that’s why they were finalists. I’m sure they will want to rectify their mistakes as we would ours — we’re in for a humdinger on the weekend.”

The Sharks also have the luxury of ­Ryan Kankowski being available for ­selection this week. The exciting eighthman returned from his Japanese club to throw another selection poser to director of rugby Gary Gold.

The Sharks host the Lions at King’s Park on Saturday. Kick-off is at 7.10 pm.

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