De Jongh Borchardt - Rapport
Johannesburg - Defence and focus were the reasons the Sharks lost their first Super14 match of the season – and also the reason the Reds caused the biggest upset to date this year.
Sharks coach John Plumtree said after his side’s shock defeat of 13-25 that they had been beaten by a better team. The Reds were particularly good on defence.
“It’s the best team we have played against in quite a while. To win, everybody has to play well. That was not the case with us. I don’t want to make excuses, but it’s difficult to stay sharp week in and week out,” said Plumtree.
“The Reds were good. Their forwards worked hard and they knew what to do against us. We played into their hands. We did not pitch and they did.”
Plumtree added that the loss of flyhalf Ruan Pienaar had been a major setback.’
“After that we played in fits and starts. Frans Steyn did well after taking over and may have to help out at flyhalf for a while. Injuries like Ruan’s and Jean Deysel’s (both knee ligaments) are worrying.”
Sharks captain Johann Muller admitted they did not have answers to the Reds’ fierce onslaught.
“We always knew it would be a very tough game. We were beaten by a side that probably wanted it a bit more than us. The Reds defended brilliantly, while our defence was not up to scratch.
“We also did not do the basics well enough. You can’t afford mistakes like that against a quality outfit.”
Muller also praised the Reds for their good tactical kicking and hard play.
“They kicked the ball behind us regularly, which worked well. We were also forced onto the back foot by their physical approach,” he said.