Sharks need to work on synergy

2013-09-02 00:00

THE Sharks took on the role as predators rather than creators, climbing to the top of the Currie Cup log by beating the Blue Bulls 34-18 at King’s Park on Saturday evening.

The Sharks won the try count 4-2 and now have a two-point cushion at the top of the log.

While the Sharks’ win was decisive and satisfying, there remain areas of concern.

One is their lack of backline cohesion and accuracy, and it was significant that three of their four tries came directly from Bulls’ defensive blunders — two charged down kicks and an interception — rather than by exploiting their many attacking opportunities.

It was clearly their battle plan on the day, kicking for position and applying pressure.

It paid off handsomely, but there will be days when their opponents will retain their composure and accuracy on defence — and the Sharks will have to be more precise and slicker on attack.

Bulls coach Pine Pienaar said that the Sharks deserve credit for “putting pressure on us”.

“But it was the same as last week [against the Golden Lions]. We also put ourselves under pressure with soft moments — the charge downs and the interception — and that is killing us.

“We conceded lots of turnovers. We now have an important game against Free State and it’s a must-win for us or the competition will get away from us.

“We can’t afford another loss in the first round.”

The Sharks coaches were, understandably all smiles.

“We’re very happy with the win and the bonus point because we didn’t play that well for 80 minutes,” said backline coach Sean Everitt.

“We lack a bit of synergy at the moment and we were flat in the first half. But we’re certainly improving and in certain parts of the game we’re showing glimpses of what we’re able to do.”

Everitt said the coaches were happy that the youngsters in the team had taken their chances, singling out centre Heimar Williams and flyhalf Fred Zeilinga.

“It was quite an exceptional performance from Fred.

“He missed just the one kick at goal from seven and his kicking for field possession was out of the top drawer.”

He defended the Sharks’ kicking tactics in the game.

“The territory game has a role to play in the modern game.

“You can’t score too many tries from inside your own half so kicking it part of our plan. Fred has kicked well and this has helped him fit into our structures.

“The 10/12 channel was targeted by the Bulls, knowing that Fred and Heimar are not the biggest at 10 and 12. I thought they both did extremely well on defence.”

Everitt also paid tribute to the bench, highlighting the impact made by scrumhalf Charl McLeod and lock Edwin Hewitt at a crucial stage,

“That’s what we want. They’ve got to come on and make a difference.

“Charl is an experienced member of the group. He gives the team confidence and offers us leadership around the fringes.”

He said the coaching staff were not concerned about first or second choices.

“We believe that squads rather than teams win championships. We want to develop a strong, well-balanced squad.

“You can’t do that with players sitting on the sidelines. It’s most likely that [centre] Tim Whitehead will start this week [against WP in Cape Town].

“The players have been told upfront.

“They know exactly where they stand as far as selection is concerned. There might be other rotational changes.

“But it’s not something we suddenly come up with on a Monday morning. It’s all been planned well in advance.”

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