- Sharks coach Sean Everitt refused to blame a poor performance upfront against the Lions on four members of his first-choice tight five missing the game.
- He pointed out that various members of the pack who were still present boasted decent experience.
- Instead, Everitt stated that the Sharks simply fell victim to their own error-ridden showing, which was exacerbated by a Lions team that put them under severe pressure.
Outmuscled (and possibly outwitted too) isn't a word associated much with the Sharks nowadays, but their untidy defeat to the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday nightexposed the disruption caused by four members of their first-choice tight five being unavailable for the match.
Dan Jooste, Thomas du Toit, Ruben van Heerden and Hyron Andrews were all missing due to reasons ranging from Covid protocols to family bereavements.
However, Sharks mentor Sean Everitt was reluctant to use that as a mitigating factor.
"We're not going to make excuses for that performance," he said in the aftermath of a 12-27 defeat.
"We still prepared well for this game. What happened here is that when you're rightly conceding a lot of penalties because you are under pressure, you fail to fire a shot.
"The individuals that started in this game are experienced ones and have played at one of the highest levels, meaning Super Rugby. We have no excuses, we just need to work harder and get better."
The majority of the eventual 14 penalties that the Sharks conceded were directly attributable to a rampant Lions side that controlled proceedings and forced numerous other errors.
"You shouldn't be winning games when you concede so many penalties," said Everitt.
"However, the Lions did put us under pressure and that's one of the reasons why the count was so high. We're a performance-driven team and we performed way below standard."
To add insult to injury, the Lions' outstanding marking meant the Durbanites were prevented from crossing the whitewash for the first time in 15 matches, spread across Super Rugby, Super Rugby Unlocked and the Currie Cup.
Some will hope that impotence on attack isn't a sign of things to come, though Everitt noted quite reasonably that their try-scoring record does suggest this was merely an off-day.
"We just have to take it on the chin (that we didn't score a try)," he said.
"It's not a concern at all. We have been scoring tries, we were in the top two of that category going into the game.
"It doesn't bother me. This was purely a error-ridden performance and when you make so many of them like we did in this game, you're not going to score tries."