Sharks’ try drought is a concern, says Jordaan

2014-05-14 00:00

SHARKS midfielder Paul Jordaan admits that their recent try drought is a concern, saying that the coaching staff were working with the players in a bid to improve their return in the weeks ahead.

The Super Rugby log leaders have scored a paltry 18 tries so far, the second worst overall behind the Lions.

Their tally is the same as the Rebels and the Bulls, although a more concerning stat is they have managed to cross the whitewash just thrice in their last five outings, compared to 15 times in the first six games.

Their preference for adopting a kicking game, especially in recent rounds, has also not gone down too well, but Jordaan insisted it was not through a lack of trying.

Jake White’s side lost for the first time on their Australasia tour when they went down 16-9 to the Brumbies in a rain-hit Canberra at the weekend.

“It [not scoring tries] is definitely a problem and we can’t hide it,” Jordaan said. “The weekend game was tough because of the conditions.

“It’s always tough to play in such wet weather. We tried to play more for field position in that game where we wanted to be in their half for most of the game.

“But we definitely need to improve our attack and we’re definitely going to try and run the ball a bit more this weekend.

“Jake’s been working hard with us on that aspect of our play. He’s emphasised it to us as well. Hopefully we can turn that corner soon.”

The Sharks do, however, boast the best defensive record of all in Super Rugby 2014, conceding only 15 tries.

But their defence and any plans to play an expansive game against the Crusaders may not be the wisest move, especially considering the seven-time champions appear to have hit their stride at the right time.

The New Zealanders have scored nine times in their last two outings, a formidable return ahead of facing the Durbanites, who have never won in Christchurch.

“Jake always says that records are meant to be broken.” Jordaan said. “It has to happen sometime, so we’re hoping it can be this weekend.

“The Crusaders are in hot form at the moment having got five out of five wins. They have a knack of finding form later in a season and that’s exactly what they’re doing. It will be tough, but they can be beaten.”

Apart from their attack, another area that suddenly has become a slight concern was the position of flyhalf after Frans Steyn turned in his most unassured performance of the season, missing several kicks off the tee and with ball in hand.

But 22-year-old Jordaan, who has started six games and scored two of the Sharks’ tries, was adamant that the Springbok back will retain his place at number 10, rather than shift back to centre where he has played his best rugby this term. He also defended rookie Tim Swiel.

He continued: “Frans is having a good season and I expect Jake will continue with him at flyhalf because he’s a good player and can keep calm.

“He’s done well at 10, so I think he’ll stay there. Tim’s learning a lot from Frans. He has the backing of everyone. He’s young still and will have plenty to offer in time to come.”

Jordaan also assured any doubters that confidence remained high in camp as the Sharks continued their bid for a first Super Rugby title.

“We believe we can [win], and as I said, we’re not top of the log for nothing,” he added.

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