Durban - For the Sharks to entertain hopes of defeating Griquas last Friday night, they knew they needed to get points on the board early, both for their own confidence and to put questions into their opponents’ minds.
And start well they did. Within a handful of minutes they had scored two tries and while that didn’t exactly lead to a Griquas’ capitulation, it did mean they were always going to chase the game – which the Sharks eventually won 46-24.
“One thing we wanted to do was to get a really good start, because we knew if they got their tails up, we’d have a really long night. I’m happy with the way we played in some patches, although it wasn’t a polished performance,” captain Keegan Daniel told the Sharks’ official website.
One area he can’t fault would be the set-piece where the Sharks were dominant.
“That was an area we’ve focused on, we set high standards the previous week against the Pumas and the guys that came in for this game carried that standard through.”
With not only a good start to the match, but also the competition with two bonus point wins, things are looking positive for the Sharks.
“We’re happy with that,” said the captain. “We wanted to play a little bit more of an attacking style of rugby and use our opportunities when we get them. I think we have the calibre of player to do that - especially the young guys in the group - and it’s all about the mindset. We’ve changed a few things in the way we play and it bodes well for us.”
Meanwhile, coach Robert du Preez agreed that the successful start laid the platform for the win.
“It was a good start, when we stuck to the structures, it was good, but when we went off plan it wasn’t so good,” he said.
“Griquas are a tough team and in the end, it was a good win.”
He agreed that it’s been a very positive start to the season following back-to-back bonus point victories.
“There is still a lot to work to do, but nevertheless, it was a good win with a big margin, so we’re happy with the bonus point.”
Areas they will keep working on, not necessarily to improve, but to maintain as a highly effective weapon against upcoming opposition, is the efficient and dominant mauling and scrumming.
“That was a plan of ours, and even without Lourens (Adriaans) there, I was pleased with our scrums which were really good; Thomas du Toit did a good job.”
There is often talk of playing attacking rugby, and when it comes off, the fans are overjoyed. But it appears they are not the only ones and the players themselves are all smiles following a good attacking movement that results in tries.
“The Sharks have always been known for playing attacking rugby and we need to play with ball in hand. When we have possession, we don’t have to make all those defensive tackles and I’d rather attack than defend all the time.
“I’m pleased with that progress, but, in saying that, there were at least four or five tries left out there that we should have taken.”
The Sharks will now prepare for their away clash with Boland in Wellington on Friday (15:00 kick-off).