Western Cape - As Sharks fans were contemplating the disappointment of Saturday's Currie Cup final defeat to Western Province at Kings Park, head coach Robert du Preez was optimistic about the future.
Top of the tournament standings by some distance heading into the play-offs, the Durbanites were significantly better than any other side in the competition up until the business end of things.
Playing a game that relies heavily on forward dominance, big defence and accurate and intelligent tactical kicking, the Sharks have not bought into the 'attack at all costs' approach that other sides are currently employing a bid to evolve.
Instead, they have done things their way and played to what they consider to be their own strengths, and it is something that Du Preez thinks will stand them in good stead as preparations for Super Rugby 2018 get underway.
"I’m very pleased with how the youngsters stepped up," Du Preez said.
"We have a great squad and that bodes well for the future in Super Rugby. We’ve turned this around … it’s certainly been a great season apart from the fact that we lost the final."
The likes of Curwin Bosch, Jean-Luc and Dan du Preez, Sbu Nkosi, Thomas du Toit and Lukhanyo Am are all 23 or younger and they will all be key players moving into 2018.
For Du Preez, the disappointment on Saturday was evident, but the coach was still able to remain positive in his overall outlook.
"I know how disappointed we are and our fans are, but they’ve
worked incredibly hard and I’m really proud of the boys and the way they
played," he said/
"On the day, it’s a game of small margins, but I’m really proud of them."
Captain Ruan Botha was equally disappointed.
"The saddest thing for me was that the guys worked hard
throughout the whole season, but we dropped ourselves in the final," he said.
doesn’t count in finals and that’s where we dropped the ball today."