Durban - While there are certain areas to continue working
on, the Sharks are pleased that certain aspects of their game are
starting to come together, as evidenced in their second half performance
against the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth last Saturday.
It was a game of two halves, but after a difficult first 40
minutes, the Sharks showed their potential in the second half to wrest control
of the game and ultimately win 24-20.
“It was tough and they came at us, but we did have the
lion’s share of possession and territory,” forwards coach Ryan Strudwick told
Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick.
“However, the little mistakes are costing us in the end,
we’re getting the ball through the phases but it’s that last pass or taking the
ball too high - those things are stopping our momentum.
“But we are progressing, it’s getting better and better each
There was a noticeable second half improvement in the Sharks’
scrumming and they started to get gains as they were able to turn good scrum
ball into good attacking ball.
“Part of our plan was bringing Thomas du Toit on because we
knew he would have fresh legs and that worked out quite nicely for us,”
Strudwick explained. “We are also blooding Thomas, I know we want to develop
him as a tighthead and although we brought him on at loosehead, we are going to
blood him at tighthead.”
One area that the Sharks are really performing well in is at
the other important set-piece - lineouts. Penalties were kicked to touch with
some valuable gains when they mauled the ball up after successfully securing
“We are happy with our own lineout, it’s working and
improving and we are getting a lot of ball. I also thought we really destroyed
their lineout, they didn’t get to play much off theirs because we really
contested well. But again, it’s something we are working very hard on and we’re
improving week in and week out. We just need to keep those standards up.”
Talking high standards, Strudwick agrees that the young
forwards are really stepping up and giving pleasing performances.
“The youngsters are settling down now and the nerves from
the first few weeks are gone. They’ve settled into the team now, there is more
stability and they are starting to perform; we know they are quality, it’s just
a matter of them reaching full potential.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s match against the Pumas in
Durban, he warns that they are a tough side to beat.
“They did lose on the weekend, but we know what they’re all about,
it will be hard for us. We owe them one and the motivation is there for us to
play, and we are at home.
“We will have to play to our full potential but fortunately
the guys are building their confidence.”