Disappointed Powell on Sharks' defeat: We weren't dominant or clinical enough

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Neil Powell. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
Neil Powell. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

Sharks director of rugby, Neil Powell, cut a frustrated figure after his side's 39-29 Champions Cup defeat to Harlequins on Saturday. 

It was the Durban-based franchise's first loss in the competition, and one that Powell felt was brought on by themselves.

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While Powell hailed Harlequins as an excellent attacking side, he bemoaned the fact that the Sharks weren't on top of their game for much of the encounter. 

Speaking after the match, Powell highlighted his team's poor discipline as well as their defence which he felt let them down on the day.  

"[I'm] disappointed with our performance," Powell told reporters.  

"I think it's a game that, if we were a little more disciplined, a little bit more dominant in contact, especially in defence, we could have got results from it and a positive result.

"Unfortunately, we weren't dominant and clinical enough in areas that mattered, and we paid for it," Powell said.  

Powell felt that his side conceded too many penalties during the encounter, something that Harlequins could build off. 

"Ill discipline; conceding 18 penalties in a game is always going to cost you against a quality attacking side like Harlequins," Powell added.   

"[Also, we] were just not good enough at the breakdown, looking after our ball. I think in terms of our game management, especially in the second half, we also played too much in the wrong area of the pitch.  

"I almost felt like we started to chase the game where we didn't need to. So with 25 minutes to go, 20 minutes to go, we almost look like we are chasing the game and playing in the wrong areas. 

Powell also felt, on the whole, the Sharks' defence let them down.  

"I think from a defensive perspective, we just weren't dominant enough. 

"I think they got those three tries that they scored, they got momentum on us, which gave them quick ball, and again, if you give any team quick ball like that, from a defensive perspective, it is always going to be difficult, especially Harlequins, a quality attacking side," Powell said.  

The Sharks will be looking to improve when they take on Edinburgh in a United Rugby Championship (URC) clash on Saturday. 

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