‘Self belief’ was key to Sharks’ historic victory

2014-05-20 00:00

SHARKS director of rugby Jake White felt that self belief had been key to their remarkable Super Rugby victory over the Crusaders in Christchurch this past weekend.

The Durban side upset the odds to win 30-25 and strengthen their position on top of the competition table, opening a five-point lead over the Chiefs, who had a bye, and the Brumbies, after the Australian side were overcome by the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

White’s men will be aiming to make it three wins out four in their final match on tour against the Blues in Albany on Friday.

In the build-up last week, the Sharks boss had stressed the importance of “belief and history in the making” and he was justifiably delighted to have won at a venue where no South African side had won since 2001.

“The whole message building up to the game was that history is there to be broken, and only a small group of people get a chance to realise that,” White said. “And that’s what we are so chuffed about.

“People didn’t really give us a chance, especially after the Crusaders were in such good form.

“So to achieve this — also when we had two players celebrating their 100th Super Rugby caps — it was unbelievable and about as good as it gets.”

Not even Sharks chief executive John Smit, the most capped Test captain in history, can lay claim to a win in Christchurch and the former Springbok captain did have a decorated career.

From winning a World Cup, to lifting Tri-Nation crowns, the 36-year-old has pretty much done it all, including leading a Bok team to victory over the British and Irish Lions.

“John Smit texted me after the game, and he just said, ‘You know I never had that privilege of winning there’,” White said.

“And considering how much he achieved during his career, it just shows what it means and what the boys have created.”

White said there was little motivating he had to do at half time of the game when they trailed 13-10 after playing most of the opening half with 14 men.

That was after a red card handed to Jean Deysel by referee Rohan Hoffmann for a stamp on the head of Jordan Taufua.

The flanker has been facing an anxious wait since Sunday to find out where further sanctions will be brought against him by the Sanzar citing commission.

While he watched from the sidelines, the Sharks delivered an indomitable second-half showing to outscore the Crusaders 20-12 and secure the remarkable win.

“It was just an incredible half-time talk because I could hardly believe the players still felt they could get the result,” White explained.

“So all credit to them, they spoke about the reality of what they could achieve, and they did it in the end.

“I just gave them a few things to think about during the break and they executed it perfectly.”

White also revealed that his pre-match confidence had stemmed from his squad, who are the only South African side to have won on tour in 2014.

He added, “I could sense that there was such a positive vibe coming here in the build-up.

“New Zealand just oozes rugby, and although it felt like we’d maybe let it slip after that red card, it just shows what’s possible.”

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