Currie Cup

Coach praises Sharks lineout

2014-09-23 17:29
Paul Anthony (Gallo Images)
Durban - When you’re able to turn a team’s strength into weakness, you have the makings of victory, which is exactly what the Cell C Sharks managed to do against the Blue Bulls when they identified the lineout as a potential target.

And when they broke the back of the Bulls lineout, they broke their attack. The Bulls typically launch most of their attacks from the lineout, be it a rolling maul or the box kick and chase out wide. It has been much of the making of their successes, but if your lineout doesn’t function, then everything afterwards doesn’t happen.

“We struggled upfront at scrum-time, but in the lineouts we were really, really good,” assistant coach Paul Anthony told Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick.

“Credit to (the locking pair of) Marco Wentzel and JC Astle, I think they won us the game; they made some vital steals. The Blue Bulls maul is a big strength of theirs so I’m over the moon about managing to nullify that strength.

“We had assessed the Bulls lineout and did our best to disrupt that and we were successful to some extent.”

The Sharks had gone into this contest knowing it was a must-win game, and having taken the four points with a 26-15 win, are now third on the log. But there is still a long way to go in this competition and not time for resting on laurels.

“For us at the moment, there is no breathing space,” he added. “We really have to win the next few, we need to keep winning. We have to play well and have a good game, we have to man up defensively and we just have to keep winning. We also can’t look one step further than the EP Kings.”

The Kings will go into this game with the freedom to throw the ball around and enjoy the game without any form of pressure on them, which makes them dangerous. “They will be difficult because they have nothing to lose, they can play as they want, with some sort of freedom. There won’t be any pressure on them, so we need to settle down, focus and go hard at them.

“They pose a totally different threat to the one we’ve just had (the Blue Bulls). They can maul the ball as well, so we have to be aware of that. They also like to play a bit more, so we are going to have to work very hard on our defence.”

But his own team will come into this game with a lot of confidence from winning on the weekend. It is never tough against the Blue Bulls, or at Loftus Versfeld.

“It is a massive confidence boost for the players, for everybody, to win a big game like that, away from home,” Anthony admitted.

“It was huge. The main thing now is to take that confidence, keep our feet on the ground and take that next step forward. Over the last few weeks, we’ve definitely shown an improvement, and we need to just keep improving.”

Read more on:    sharks  |  currie cup  |  marco wentzel  |  paul anthony  |  durban  |  rugby

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