Vodacom Super 14

Sharks regroup for Waratahs

2010-03-02 14:49
Regrouping (www.sharksrugby.co.za)
Sydney - The Sharks acknowledge that their performance against the Crusaders, especially in the closing minutes, was off-par and there is a resolute feeling in the camp to make it right this weekend.

According to the Sharks website, Sharks lock Johann Muller admits that, “We’re very disappointed with the Crusaders game, we know we let ourselves down, our supporters down and the coaching staff, that’s not what the Sharks brand is about.

Muller pointed out that the Crusaders were coming off a bad loss against the Reds and were under pressure to perform.

“That loss the previous week and playing at home, it was a must-win game for them so they came out really fired up. We started really well, I thought we played well for the first 60 minutes, but in the last 20 we fell apart a bit. We did put them under pressure, but you have to play like that for 80 minutes, not 60, so there is a lesson we can take out of that. But at the end of the day, they were the better side and we weren’t good enough.”

Muller admitted that there has been a lot of honest introspection and it hasn’t been an easy time.

“We’ve been very tough on ourselves over the few days following the match and our spirits were down after the loss,” he explains.

“But we had an unbelievable day of training yesterday, probably our best training session of the entire year and it was great to see the character of the guys come out. Everyone put their hands up to show what this means to them. I can promise one thing, it will be a much improved performance on the weekend against the Waratahs.”

With the jetlag factor and the short turnaround week, it was always going to be a tough assignment for the Sharks, but Muller refuses to find excuses for the loss.

“We had a chat about it and we can probably find hundreds of excuses and yes, in the last 10 minutes you could feel that the legs were tired and the guys were blowing a bit, but we are not going to use that as an excuse. We just weren’t good enough on the day and we have got to make sure that we set the record straight on the weekend.

“You can’t dwell on negatives, if you think about the past too much, you’re never going to go forward. We’ve had a good look at ourselves, we’ve had a tough video session looking at the way we played, and we know that it’s important to put behind us and make sure that we are prepared for the next game. It’s great to see the guys lifting themselves up for the next one.”

The Waratahs return to Sydney to play their first game, having played three away matches and two of them in South Africa.

Muller admits that they face a tough task against a decent team on Saturday.

“They’re a really good side, one we’ve really struggled against in the past, but to be honest, we aren’t looking at them, it’s not about the opposition, but about us. We know we haven’t been good enough so it doesn’t matter what the other sides throw at us, if we play to our own ability it doesn’t matter who we play, so it’s important to get our own structures in place and improve week in and week out.

“We know we need a drastic improvement and after a great training session on Monday, we need to keep it up during the week and the most important thing is to have a good game and put them under pressure.”

With a quality side like the Waratahs only three points ahead of the Sharks and only a win away from moving into the top half of the log, Muller agrees that this is going to be a very close-run Super 14 tournament.

“That’s great thing about this competition, it’s always going to be tight. There are a couple of sides putting their hands up, the Bulls are playing fantastic rugby and then there are going to be fights for positions, we were in the same position last year, top of the log after Round seven, and then the wheels came off.

“This year we’ve had a slow start and we know we have to improve and make sure we get some wins under the belt, and if we do, we could suddenly be in a good position on the log. It’s very close this year, you aren’t out of it until the final round!”


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