Durban - Despite having to fight back from an early deficit to eventually take the lead, the feeling of disappointment was intense following the Cell C Sharks’ 30-all draw with the Free State Cheetahs on Saturday.
According to Sharks' website editor Michael Marnewick, it was an away game and wins away from home are rare enough, so the victory the Sharks were seeking was in their hands until a last gasp penalty was successfully converted to allow the home team to enjoy a share of the Currie Cup spoils.
"We’re disappointed, this was the second week in a row where a penalty after the hooter cost us, last week a draw and this week the win," said coach Brad Macleod-Henderson.
"For the last 20 minutes there was just one team on the field and to end with a draw is really gut-wrenching."
The Sharks had managed to fight back from a 14-3 deficit early on to trail 17-13 at the break and at half-time they were well aware that the game was very much alive and theirs for the taking if they were able to convert some of the chances.
That was the message to the players. “
"At half time we knew there were opportunities, we just needed to make sure we took them.
"In the second half we created some quality opportunities.
"It was then that we forced them to make a lot more tackles, but we need to make those scoring opportunities count.
"In the first half there were a couple of opportunities, but we hung in there, stuck to the task, got the lead and then unfortunately surrendered it after extra time."
There was only one injury concern, with Odwa Ndungane having picked up an adductor strain and he will be assessed this week.
Thomas du Toit had failed a late fitness test and had to be replaced by Danie Mienie on the bench, but the coach feels the young loosehead prop should be ready for this week’s game against the Bulls.
Talking of which, the double round of home and away matches in their section now turns to cross –section matches against the other sides, starting with the Bulls at Loftus, then EP Kings at Kings Park, followed by home and away games against the Lions and Western Province respectively, before the knock-out stages.
"This next round of games is a very important stage for us.
"The Bulls are starting to pick up some momentum, they’re a quality side enjoying continuity in their rugby and we’re going to have to put in a good performance on Saturday up at Loftus."