Super Rugby

Gold: We need to 'man up'

Cape Town - Had the Sharks beaten the Crusaders in Durban on Saturday night, it would have been one of the greatest 'smash and grabs' in the history of Super Rugby. 

Gary Gold's charges were outplayed from start to finish - he has admitted as much.

Despite having virtually no ball in the Crusaders' 22, the Sharks defence was immense once more and it kept them in the game up until the final whistle. 

Two opportunistic tries from Lwazi Mvovo, that came as a direct result of Crusaders errors, had kept the Sharks just ahead on the scoreboard for much of the clash. 

The match was also characterised by numerous TMO calls for both foul play and the awarding of tries. 

With about 15 minutes to play, and with the score at 14-12 in favour of the hosts, the Sharks thought they had scored through fullback Willie le Roux only for TMO Johan Greeff to rule that the Springbok No 15 was offside. 

That try would have surely put the Sharks out of reach, but while Gold did not agree with all of the TMO calls on the day, he would not use that as an excuse.

"No," was his simple response when asked if he was happy with all of the decisions that the TMO had made. 

"The fact of the matter is we lost the game and that’s not the reason why.

"We must man up and at the end of the day we’ve got to look after the ball more. I’d far rather spend my time on those problems than on the problems I can’t fix."

While there is undoubtedly a lot for the Sharks to think about in their bye week before they take on the Lions at King's Park on April 9, Gold is choosing to focus on the positives. 

"I must give huge credit to our guys for the character they showed … seven games together and this is our first defeat," he said.

"We’ll learn from this.

"Five games down and it’s not going to get any easier with our trip to New Zealand ... (there were) big lessons out of today’s (Saturday's) game but I choose to focus on the positives and I have to give this group of players a huge amount of credit."

The players will have this week off and will re-assemble for training at the weekend. 

"It’s not a train smash," added Gold.

"It’s just something that we’re going to have to be really hard on ourselves with. We got a point … a point more than we got last year."

The Sharks were beaten 52-10 by the Crusaders in Durban last year.