Coach pleased with Sharks' fight
Durban - They may have gone down to the Lions last week, but the Sharks’ brains trust were happy with the fight shown by their charges.
The Sharks lost 23-21 after flyhalf Fred Zeilinga missed a long-range penalty after the hooter had sounded at Emirates Airline Park.
“For us, it was a game where we could have got the result but unfortunately it didn’t go our way, but on a positive note, it was a huge improvement on the previous weekend,” assistant coach Sean Everitt told Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick.
“The guys put in a lot of effort, there were a lot of changes to the team and if Fred Zeilinga’s kick had gone over at the end of the game, people might see it differently.”
An assessment of any game is never complete until the attitude and commitment has been factored in, and for this match, the coaching staff were very happy with the fight the team showed to come back from nine points down to almost wrestle the win after a dominant second half showing from the home side.
“When we look at the performance of the players, they showed a lot of heart. I thought the guys showed tremendous guts in the second half to keep them out for so long and scoreless, especially in the 22 where we defended phase upon phase. Those are positives we need to take out of the game.
“But the mistakes we made put us under pressure and therefore we didn’t have the ball. We made too many elementary mistakes and unfortunately that cost us, both on attack and defence.”
He felt that the fight-back was a praiseworthy aspect of the team’s commitment to win the game, and showed that the team has grown.
“A lot of teams in the same position as us would have folded, like those times defending in our 22. But the guys remained positive, we managed to get field position after some great defence, scored a good try and obviously play well to get out of our half to earn a penalty,” Everitt continued.
Scoring three tries was also a good indication of how the team want to play and Everitt agreed that there was more urgency shown on attack.
“I thought we attacked really well. You’re able to build continuity when you’re not making handling errors, and we cut them down quite a lot from the previous week against the Crusaders when they capitalised on our mistakes. When you enjoy continuity, you’re able to wear the defences down and create opportunities for yourself.
“We would have liked to have seen one or two more line-breaks finished off, but we’ve been working very hard with that and our line-break percentage to completion has been very good.
“There were a lot of positives to take out of the game and if we can just polish those up a bit, the results could go our way.
“Obviously we’re still in with a good shout, but what we need to do is concentrate on our performances and make sure we rectify the mistakes we’ve made and that we move forward. And take the positives out from the weekend which were work-rate and the effort we showed.
“And at times when we kept the ball, we looked very good as well, we scored two nice tries from way out. We’re happy with the way we’re attacking but unfortunately, the unforced errors are counting against us.”
In their next assignment, the Sharks host the Bulls at Kings Park this Saturday (17:05 kick-off).