Sharks coach Everitt heaps praise on Phepsi: 'I don't think he made a mistake this evening'

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Sharks No 8 Phepsi Buthelezi on the charge. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)
Sharks No 8 Phepsi Buthelezi on the charge. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)
  • Sharks coach Sean Everitt said No 8 Phepsi Buthelezi was "outstanding" in their 37-10 URC thrashing of the Lions.
  • Buthelezi made more metres on attack than any player on the Kings Park turf and was also the game's best defender.
  • Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen acknowledged they found the going tough in the wet conditions.

Sharks coach Sean Everitt heaped praise on industrious No 8 Phepsi Buthelezi who was the standout player in his side's 37-10 mauling of the Lions at Kings Park on Saturday.

Buthelezi, who scored one of the Sharks' four tries, was omnipresent throughout and walked away with the man-of-the-match accolade.

The Sharks bossed a game played in treacherous conditions and Buthelezi was at the forefront.

Buthelezi made the most metres on attack of any player on the park (70m), beat two Lions defenders and made one clean break.

The 22-year-old also made the most tackles in the game (11), with his coach understandably chuffed afterwards.

"Phepsi's been our number one eighthman throughout the URC ... we did give (Sikhumbuzo) Notshe some opportunities to get back to full fitness, but Phepsi was outstanding," Everitt told reporters.

"I don't think he made a mistake this evening, he carried well with intent, defended well and got himself involved in many battles.

"I'm really proud of him in difficult conditions, he's also improved his lineout skills. And he's a guy that prepares really well, looks after himself during the week like a true professional. He deserves the accolade he got tonight, and well done to him."

The Sharks were more adept than their visitors in the wet conditions, with halfbacks Jaden Hendrikse and Curwin Bosch impressing with sound tactical displays.

"Jaden played well last week as well, he's starting to reach the form that he had when he was chosen for South Africa last year.

"Curwin managed the game exceptionally well. We only had one occasion that we had three or more phases in our own half and that's exactly what we tried to do to put the pressure back onto the Lions and then you combine that with the left foot of Anthony Volmink. So, we did have a three-ploy kicking plan and it worked superbly for us tonight."

Meanwhile, Everitt's counterpart, Ivan van Rooyen, acknowledged that his players struggled to deal with the wet weather.

"I think the lessons learnt today would be massive for us going forward. Sometimes you've got to make a decision in the moment to kick and capitalise when the opposition is out of position and I think the Sharks managed that really well tonight.

"It's probably by far the wettest game we've played this year... even if you look at the European conditions that we played in... [but], we're definitely going to have multiple games like this within the next year, if we're travelling to Europe in certain times."

Van Rooyen added it's not always easy for them to prepare for wet conditions when training on the Highveld.

"It's difficult to mimic this when it's 25 degrees back home with no wind and a dry ball, so there were unbelievable lessons learnt for all our playmakers. It's not nice sitting here after a loss like that but we will definitely be better off after this experience."

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