Jake: All boxes were ticked
Durban - The Cell C Sharks came out of their warm-up match against the Lions on Friday evening at Ellis Park with an emphatic ‘Mission Accomplished’ report following their 57-14 defeat of the home side, reports Sharks website
editor Michael Marnewick
Both teams will be playing Super Rugby this year, although the Lions opted to rest some of their frontline players, but a very good performance coupled with the fact that there were no major injuries to report bodes well for the team.
Tries from Odwa Ndungane
(2), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Lwazi Mvovo
, Frans Steyn
, S'bura Sithole (2), Stephan Lewies
and Jaco van Tonder were enough to bring a smile to the face of Director of Coaching, Jake White
“What we wanted out of this game was to get stuff right,” he explained. “The things that we worked on, we got right, and that gives confidence which is exactly what you want out of these games. I said to the guys afterwards that we came out of the game without injuries and we got what we wanted out of the game and got individual performances where guys put their hands up.
“We got unit performances where they work well as a unit, combinations worked well, the team played well. So one flows into the other. Sometimes combinations might not gel even though the team looks like it’s OK, or sometimes the team plays well and individuals played badly. So for us what was so pleasing was that all of those boxes were ticked. It made no difference who the Lions put on to play for them, we were always going to go there with a checklist of what we wanted to get right and some of those things we got really right which is also pleasing.”
Sithole, normally a wing, was shifted to outside centre and scored two good tries to underline his value as a physical player who knows how to finish. It appears that there is a new option which is obviously great news for squad depth.
“S’bura at 13 was unbelievable,” enthused White. “He was phenomenal actually. That bodes well for us because we are probably a bit short in the centres, especially at outside centre, so for him to have played the way he did and to put up his hand as he did, was obviously very pleasing. He’s a case in point of a player taking his chance. He definitely made people sit up and watch.”
White has also looked to create something special between Pat Lambie and flyhalf and Frans Steyn
at inside centre. The pair started together, but by the time Sithole came on, they were off the field.
An exciting prospect of the three working in tandem is further reason for Whites enthusiasm.
“Don’t underestimate having Francois Steyn
next to Patrick Lambie
and the fact that anything that happens outside them is always going to be dangerous. Having a 10-12 combination like that adds value to everyone else outside them.
“And that’s what was so pleasing about S’bura coming in and playing so well. He played without those two guys and I wonder what he’d be like if he played in combination with those two.
“We have an attacking backline and considering we don’t yet have JP Pietersen
back yet, when he does, there is more value there. The forwards are talented, it’s about making sure we keep those backs fit and strong.”