Gold: Sharks can only improve
Cape Town - As they prepare for their final Super Rugby tour match, Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold says he's been pleased with the improvements they’ve shown on attack.
The Durbanites started their Australasian tour with a dismal 48-15 reverse to the Highlanders in Dunedin, but improved in subsequent defeats to the Hurricanes in Wellington (32-24) and Waratahs in Sydney (33-18).
The scoreline in Sydney flattered the home side, who were aided by some questionable officiating from Australian referee Rohan Hoffmann.
That issue aside, the Sharks have now lost their last six matches in the competition, with their last win coming at home against the Force on March 28.
But Gold remains optimistic ahead of Friday’s clash against the Reds in Brisbane.
“We crossed the tryline five times against the Hurricanes, although two of them weren’t awarded, and we crossed the tryline a few times this weekend and one wasn’t awarded. So we’re creating opportunities and very nearly finishing them. I’m excited about that, I’m excited about our counter-attack and I’m excited about how we look with ball in hand,” Gold was quoted as saying on the Sharks’ official website.
“But we’re not fooling ourselves, we realise that we need a vast improvement in our defence. But we have some young guys on the park who are learning a huge amount. Coupled with the fact that we look quite good with ball in hand and I have no doubt we can only improve. I’m reasonably encouraged by the fact that the issues we’re getting wrong are very fixable.”
Kick-off for Friday’s clash at Suncorp Stadium is scheduled for 11:40 (SA time).
15 James O'Connor, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Karmichael Hunt, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Chris Kuridrani, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 James Horwill, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 James Hanson, 1 James Slipper (captain)
Substitutes: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Pettowa Paraka, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ed O'Donoghue, 20 Lolo Fakaosilea, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Sam Greene, 23 Ben Tapuai
15. Lwazi Mvovo, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. JP Pietersen, 12. Frans Steyn, 11. S'bura Sithole, 10. Lionel Cronje, 9. Stefan Ungerer, 8. Renaldo Bothma, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Marco Wentzel (captain), 4. Stephan Lewies, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16. Franco Marais, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Mouritz Botha, 20. Etienne Oosthuizen, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Fred Zeilinga, 23. Andre Esterhuizen