White: ‘Our destiny in our own hands’

2014-05-13 00:00

SHARKS director of rugby Jake White cut a calm figure following their first major setback on tour, insisting that destiny was still well and truly in their own hands as the regular Super Rugby season edged closer towards completion.

The former Springbok boss did not enjoy a happy return to Canberra where he watched his side lose 16-9 to former club the Brumbies, although he drew some personal satisfaction from the progress the Australian franchise had made since his departure last year.

The bottom line for the South African side, however, was that two defeats from their last three games have left them just two points ahead on the overall log, but White preferred to take in the positives.

“The result is not ideal, but to get a [losing bonus] point and still be top of the log and in control of our destiny is where you want to be as a team,” he said as he reflected back on the latest result.

“Obviously there is pressure in that position, but we’d much rather be in a position where we control our own destiny than worry about some teams having to knock others over. At this point in time, we’re still on top and we have our destiny in our own hands. We just need to keep working. It wasn’t about how many wins we got on the trip but how many we get through the tournament. We just want to remain on top.”

The Sharks have already arrived at the next stop of their trip — in New Zealand to face the Crusaders and Blues over the next two weeks. It could prove to be a season-defining journey. They have never won in Christchurch and a result either way this weekend may well shape their season.

White acknowledged this, saying, “It doesn’t get any easier. The Crusaders are always contenders, and the Sharks haven’t won in Christchurch.”

One big selection dilemma facing the Sharks boss is likely to come at flyhalf where Frans Steyn, who missed three kicks, had his worst game off the kicking tee this season.

His general decision-making was also not great and White will have to decide whether to stick with the Springbok back at number 10 or draft in rookie Tim Swiel, who has made three less-than-impressive appearances so far in 2014.

Looking back at the Brumbies game, White conceded it may have been an area that cost them over the weekend. “I think the Brumbies probably kicked better than us but we did have our chances,” he said. “They got one opportunity and ended up scoring and that’s the way it goes sometimes. When we got momentum, we lost it, and when they got momentum, they took charge of it.

“I think we had enough momentum in the beginning to build a lead and get our tails up, which would have made it easier for us in the second half, but we ended up having to chase the game. Every time we scored, we conceded points right back.”

One good piece of news for White is that there are no fresh injury concerns.

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