Currie Cup

Sharks loosies impress coach

2014-08-18 15:45
Brad Macleod-Henderson (Gallo)
Durban - Cell C Sharks coach Brad MacLeod-Henderson was pleased with the way his team performed against the Pumas in Friday night’s Currie Cup clash at Kings Park.

“I’m very happy,” he told Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick after his side’s 34-17 win.

Trailing 7-6 at half-time, it was clear the Pumas had more than held their own in the first half and had put in a great defensive display to deny the home side any scores apart from two Fred Zeilinga penalties. But that all changed after the break.

“Four tries in a half, it was a great second half. They had defended hard and made it difficult
for us and we had to be patient. And luckily it came through in the second half. When you’re playing, you’re always looking for opportunities and weaknesses in the opposition and in the first half we thought we had them. But they worked hard, they cut us down, and maybe we were a bit unlucky not to get a try.

“But in the second half, the opportunities opened up, pretty much straight through the middle, we had a few good mauls, they thought we’d use our backs more but we got a bit more direct and it worked well.”

Given the conditions, it was never going to be very easy (and difficult to be successful) to throw the ball around, but the coach was full of praise for the way his team played.

“I thought we got the balance pretty much spot on; you’re always looking for that perfect game and there are still a few things we need to work on, but four tries in a night game with a lot of moisture around is a good performance.

“But let’s not forget, the Pumas are a quality side and we saw that in this game, they deserve to be playing in this competition.”

He also had words of praise for a veteran loose-forward and one who is still fairly young, albeit in the captaincy role.

“I thought Jacques Botes and Tera Mtembu were outstanding. Jacques got the man-of-the-match award officially, but in the way Tera captained and led the side, I don’t think he was too far off.”

Of concern was the high penalty count, something they will address. “I’d like to have a look at the penalties we gave away, I thought we gave away too many penalties,” he explained.

“Their first mauling try and second try, those were two areas that we’ll have a good look at, but generally I thought our defence was quite good, there was good commitment from everyone and I was happy with the result, but you’re always looking to improve.”

Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse was severely disappointed in the result, citing his team losing the match rather than the Sharks delivering a winning performance.

“There were just too many mistakes from us, lineouts in particular didn’t go our way, we gave the game away; we were our own enemies,” he said. “There are a lot of things to take out of this game, but we didn’t use our advantage well when they were down to 14 men. In that case a team with 15 men should score 10 or 12 points.

“It’s clear that the Pumas are here to play a great brand of rugby although a concern for us is depth. There is a lot of guts and glory in this Pumas team, we’re in this Currie Cup and we want to prove ourselves.”


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