Rainbow Cup

'Manhandled' Sharks not despairing after Bulls setback

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Duane Vermeulen has a 'handbags' moment with Henco Venter. (Photo by Anton Geyser/Gallo Images)
Duane Vermeulen has a 'handbags' moment with Henco Venter. (Photo by Anton Geyser/Gallo Images)
  • Sharks coach Sean Everitt was philosophical over his charges' comprehensive loss to the Bulls on Saturday night.
  • He believes it was unlikely anyway that the Durbanites would continue their try-scoring exploits given the gritty nature of South African derbies.
  • While admitting his forwards were "manhandled" later on, Everitt isn't going to suddenly start making panicky changes.

From dotting down nine times in two games to being kept try-less represents a harsh reality check for the Sharks, but Sean Everitt, their head coach, isn't going to lose much sleep.

A daunting trip to Loftus did indeed turn into a dark memory as they were comprehensively beaten 9-43 by the powerful, fast-finishing Bulls.

"Of course it's a frustrating result, but there's still a lot of rugby to be played," said Everitt.

"We've got three games left. We're certainly not out of the race. The Bulls are still only three log points ahead of us and we still have to play them at home, where we haven't lost for a period of time now."

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He also made the reasonable point that the structure of the tournament, which consists just of local derbies, makes it inevitable that team's form will seesaw.

"For us, it's not the end of the world. You're bound to lose a game or two when you play six South African derbies in a row," said Everitt.

"We want to bounce back and win this competition. It's a slip-up. We just need to get back on track."

Despite the nasty-looking scoreline, the Sharks were competitive until the final quarter as they did well to keep the ball away from their opponents while showing glimpses of enterprise on the attack.

But replacement prop Lizo Gqoboka's opening try allied to a botched attacking line-out shortly afterwards knocking the stuffing out of their effort.

"It was a 'big game moment' as we call it," said Everitt.

"We were on attack and could've fought our way back in the game. If we pulled it back, we would've had a lot of confidence. Unfortunately it didn't happen."

Instead, a rampant Bulls pack started to dominate the collisions and were so compelling that Everitt, usually a man who chooses his words carefully, labelled his forwards' struggles as "manhandling".

That would seem to suggest that his pack lacked punching power though that's a bit of a stretch given how they stood up to their opponents initially.

"Yes, I'm really disappointed with how we ended up getting dominated," said the Sharks mentor.

"But I don't believe we have to look at guys outside the squad to address that. We can't fault the effort. Sometimes, when you're conceding so many penalties and you're stopping mauls, you become tired. Defending and retreating does that. That was a massive factor. 

"We'll look at our group, but I know this team has massive fight in it. We'll get things right." 

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