Currie Cup

Sharks coach defends season

2014-10-22 07:44
Brad Macleod-Henderson (Gallo Images)

Durban - Sharks coach Brad MacLeod-Henderson says despite not winning a trophy this season, the overall outlook was still positive for the Durban franchise.

The defending Currie Cup champions lost out in the semi-finals last weekend to the Golden Lions, who meet Western Province in the final this weekend.

"If you are looking at it that way (in terms of trophies) then yes (it was a failure)," MacLeod-Henderson said on Tuesday.

"We lost in the semi-finals of Super Rugby and we lost in the semi-finals of the Currie Cup."

MacLeod-Henderson said the positive aspect was the players who had come through the development system.

"It was great to see Tera's (Mtembu) development as a leader and his form on the field," he said.

"If you look at it like that, then it was a success and there were lots of pros."

Given the head coach role for the Currie Cup competition by now-departed director of rugby Jake White, MacLeod-Henderson conceded that missing out on this weekend's final was disappointing.

"Ultimately our aim was to win the Currie Cup and obviously not being there in the final on Saturday is the big negative," MacLeod-Henderson said.

But he felt there were plenty of players who had made strong cases to feature in next season's Super Rugby competition, contrary to some criticism received about a lack of depth at Kings Park.

Some of the players who stood out during the Sharks' campaign were forwards Etienne Oosthuizen and Thomas du Toit as well as powerhouse centre Andre Esterhuizen.

"There's a few names that at the start of the Currie Cup no one had heard about, but those are guys that have put their hands up and shown what they can do," he said.

"Etienne and Andre did very well and there's someone like Thomas. They're young guys and they've got to keep on improving. I'm looking forward to working with them next year.

"So there certainly is depth and you always want to build on that. So I'm happy with the progress."

Captain Mtembu was equally pleased with the way he had slotted in.

"The main thing for me was absorbing and learning, which I think I did. There's obviously still a lot for me to learn," Mtembu said.

Mtembu, the first black captain of the Sharks, hoped he could now establish himself in the Super Rugby team next year.

"That's one of my goals for 2015," he said.

"There's healthy competition in Super Rugby and I'd like to become a regular in the team."

The Sharks were expected to announce a replacement for 2007 World Cup-winning coach White before the end of the month.

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