Durban - The Sharks will look to play an exciting brand of rugby in the upcoming Currie Cup tournament, but according assistant coach Sean Everitt they need to make sure they deliver in other departments too.
While it won’t be a pragmatic approach, the other components of the game, like defence cannot be ignored. And it’s not about willy-nilly throwing the ball around like a game of beach touch-rugby, but rather making correct decisions about when and where to attack.
The style of rugby they intend on playing is the kind that brings with it lots of tries.
“That’s the style we want to play - within reason of course,” Everitt told Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick. “There is a risk that comes with playing in all areas of the field, so we will keep that in mind, but certainly what we are trying to create is a positive, attacking mindset and play to where the space is available to us.”
Is this a license to thrill, where players are encouraged to have a go with the possibility of failing, rather than not having a go and still failing?
“In Super Rugby we tried to create a positive mindset and encouraged the guys to have a go, but there has to be a balance. The stats tell you that if you play rugby in the wrong areas of the field, you don’t succeed, so we want to make sure that we execute accurately. We’re not going to go back from what we tried in Super Rugby, but we are working hard on our core skills.”
Reflecting on the Super Rugby final, Everitt said: “It was a great game of rugby, but despite all the attacking, defences were very good. Ultimately that’s in the direction we’d like to go in, but it is a process and our players need to develop to be able to execute that plan.
“The mindset at the Sharks is that we want to play to where the space is and attack there, but it is a process and we will get better as the season progresses.”
Counting as a positive is the fact that the players are presented with a clean slate from which to write their own destinies. There is no baggage from the past, the disappointments have been put behind them and they have every chance to make a case for inclusion.
“Obviously we were disappointed with our Super Rugby season, but it does give us the opportunity to win the support back from our fans and get a new Currie Cup season on track. We couldn’t ask for more than what the players are giving us at the moment, they’re extremely excited and determined to do well this year.
“Training has been really good, everyone has embraced the new players who have come in and there is a lot of enthusiasm which is always the case at the start of the Currie Cup.
“All the players are keen to fight for a place in the starting line-up and with the Springboks away for the tournament, everyone sees that there is an opportunity for them to prove themselves.”
Looking at the talent available to him in the backline he admits to excitement at seeing what they accomplish.
“A number of players have come through the junior levels at the Sharks and we’ve had some new senior acquisitions which balances the squad out quite well, so from the backs’ point of view, we’re really excited.
“We want to get our hands on the ball and force the opposition defence to work very hard to stop us. Hopefully if we execute well, we’ll have a very exciting Currie Cup.”