Currie Cup

Sharks coach heaps praise on powerful pack

Sharks coach Sean Everitt. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
Sharks coach Sean Everitt. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

Sharks coach Sean Everitt was a happy man after his charges defeated Western Province to advance to the Currie Cup final.

Finals rugby always has the potential to be a dull affair and that was perhaps the only expectation that Saturday's semi-final, the last to ever be played at Newlands, lived up to. The ball rarely passed the fly-half channel as kicks and rumbling forwards were the order of proceedings in front of the sad and empty stands.

After being dominated by Cheetahs forwards earlier in the campaign and Province boasting a quality forward pack, Everitt always knew the game would likely be won or lost right there.

"We spoke for the last two weeks that the game would be won up front," Everitt told the press.

"I am just proud of our guys and how they adapted to the plans they had in the different aspects of the game, two of them being scrumming and stopping mauls.

"We know that that's been Western Province's strength for this entire Currie Cup and they have scored a number of tries from those mauls. We managed to negate their strength. I am absolutely proud of the guts the guys showed in executing that plan.

"I am very happy that the players are going to have the opportunity to play in a final. Super Rugby last year is long gone. I still feel that we aren't playing as well as we did back then. This afternoon's game shows that when you have a plan and the guys stick to it, that they get results. I am exceptionally happy for the guys, for the effort they put in, during a difficult and challenging season."

Turning his attention to the final against the Blue Bulls, Everitt is under no illusions as to the challenge that awaits at Loftus Versveld. In particular, he is concerned about Bulls' captain Duane Vermuelen and Marco van Staden at the breakdown.

"The Bulls forwards have always been dominant as a pack," he continued.

"They are a powerful unit. They can mix up their game well with counter-attacks and they play well from turnovers. It all comes from pressure at breakdown. Marco van Staden and Duane Vermeulen have been huge in that area. The Bulls have shown they are the form side. They are going to be a massive challenge up at Loftus."

- TEAMtalk media

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