Consistency key for Sharks
Durban - The Sharks had a good outing against the Free State Cheetahs in their first round Currie Cup clash at Kings Park, but the message following the Pumas match this past Saturday is about becoming more consistent.
“Getting the bonus point was a positive - it was our aim - and there were bits and pieces that we got excited about, especially towards the end of the game when we had to score and we started playing some of our best rugby of the 80 minutes,” Sharks assistant coach Grant Bashford told Sharks website editor, Michael Marnewick.
“Another positive this week was the fact that we only made 88 tackles [the Pumas made over 150] so that was a good reverse.
“But the frustration once again is the consistency and accuracy.”
He feels the Sharks are letting themselves down with basic mistakes and unforced errors that are preventing them from getting their game going.
“In a nutshell, there were some really good positives, scoring five tries was nice but the negative would be the consistency in performance and the error rate.”
He adds that the Pumas deserve more for their efforts than what the log suggests. “They were good and you have to give them credit too. Of all the games they’ve played this tournament, the Cheetahs were the only side that dominated them on the scoreboard. So they’ve been in every other game including the Lions at home in the first round which perhaps they should have won and in the second round match, they were also in that game.
“In saying that, we feel that if we get our game going against anyone, that we can play well and the challenge is to become more consistent.”
The Sharks defeated the Cheetahs 43-34 at the end of July - the bonus point victory sparked by an early four try blitz when the Sharks scored 26 points in the opening 22 minutes and the Cheetahs managing just one penalty. While the visitors managed to strike back, it wasn’t enough against the dominant Sharks and this weekend, they will look to deliver a similarly commanding performance.
“The nice thing about the Cheetahs is that in the last couple of years going up to Bloemfontein, we’ve actually had some positive results,” says Bashford. “There was a time when there was a bogey issue, but we feel we’ve got that out the way.”
The Cheetahs come off a 22-all draw with the Blue Bulls last weekend and they will be determined to make sure they don’t slip up again.
“Any home game for any union is vitally important, you have to win your home games, so that draw against the Blue Bulls would have disappointed them, especially leading for most of the game before the Bulls came back at them,” the coach explains.
“They’ll be looking at that and they won’t want to slip up at their home ground again this weekend.
“This will be a huge game for both teams.”