Durban - Sharks backline coach Sean Everitt hailed the impact of their bench after they climbed to the top of the Currie Cup table with a convincing 34-18 victory over the Blue Bulls at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
The hosts, leading 13-10 at half time, recorded 21 points during an excellent 16-minute spell after the interval, when man-of-the-match and replacement scrumhalf Charl McLeod was one of three try scorers to set the coastal side on their way to a bonus-point win.
"I think the bench did a great job and that’s what they are actually there for," Everitt said after the game.
"They’ve got to come on and make a difference, so we congratulated them after the game for the impact they had.
"Charl obviously being an experienced member of the group, playing with guys that are a lot younger than him, he gives them a lot of confidence coming in.
Apart from McLeod, SP Marais, Heimar Williams and Marco Wentzel were all on the scoresheet to join a faultless kicking display by Fred Zeilinga as the Sharks moved above the Cheetahs and Western Province to the summit.
Everitt also paid tribute to Zeilinga, after he was on target with six out of his seven kicks.
"Fred has shown in the past at junior age-group level as well as in the Vodacom Cup what he’s capable of doing.
"Tonight I thought it was quite an exceptional performance by him.”
Everitt felt, though, that the bonus-point win was slightly flattering.
"We’re very happy to get the bonus point because we didn’t feel we played that well over the 80 minutes, so obviously we’re delighted with that,” he added.
Bulls coach Pine Pienaar was left to rue what he described as some 'soft' moments that cost them the game, saying it was an element of their play that hampered their progress.
"The mistakes we’re making have to be minimised," said Pienaar.
"It was the same as we did last weekend with soft moments, like early in the game when we conceded a charge-down try and the last try they scored was an intercept try. Those soft moments are killing us.”
Pienaar felt there was an improvement from last week’s 62-23 hammering by the Golden Lions, although he acknowledged that they could not afford another slip up in their next outing against the Free State Cheetahs.
"I think it’s a much better performance, but it’s the result that counts at the end of the day," he added.
"We need to start learning and gelling quickly.
"If we lose three in a row, we are basically out of the competition."