Sharks seek set-piece improvements

2014-09-09 00:00

THE Sharks can take a page out of the Griquas’ and Pumas’ books as it seems hunger — and a powerful set-piece — are recipes for success in the Currie Cup.

The Sharks are in an interesting position as they sit fourth on the Currie Cup log after their defeat at the hands of the Griquas last weekend. They are now nine points adrift of log leaders Western Province.

Although the death knell is far from tolling, the Sharks need to get back to their winning ways if they are to progress into the semi-finals come the end of the 10 rounds of pool matches.

Speaking after his side’s loss on Saturday night, Brad Macleod-Henderson was not a happy man and he did point out the need to continually improve at the set-piece, which forms the basis for their attacking game.

“Your set-piece is always very important. Last week it probably let us down [against Pumas] a bit but I think it was better tonight. Obviously the free-kicks and penalties at scrum time, you know I’d like to have another look at that before I make any comments,” he said.

A better set-piece means good ball for the Sharks backline, which was shuffled this past weekend. They have maybe committed too many small errors.

“At times we looked good, probably also the amount of errors we’re making just puts pressure on us. So if we are building pressure on the opposition then we just relieve that pressure in some ways quite easily, so it’s an area that we will be looking at,” the coach said.

That could also come down to the amount of time the young Sharks squad have had. With just one week to prepare before the Currie Cup, combinations may be taking time to properly develop.

“It is difficult but it’s something you continually work on. I think the more time you spend together the better you become and it’s something we will be working on this week. You try and get your selection in early so that you give the guys as much time to work together as possible.”

That being said, the pressure is on the Sharks and only a win will suffice as they take on the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein this weekend.

“After losing at home, we need to go away and get a result so that becomes a crucial game for us,” he said.

Looking at the likes of the Pumas and Griquas, Macleod-Henderson believes they deserve their place in the competition.

“We said it at the start of the season. They’re quality sides, they difficult to wear down and they’ve proved that they belong at this level. They’re tough, difficult sides to get wins over and we knew that before this game. But that’s behind us now, we’ve got the Free State this week and we’re looking forward to that.”

The Sharks travel to Bloemfontein to play the Cheetahs on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 3 pm.

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