Sharks promise improvement
Durban - With the high level of intensity produced during the pre-season period, the fact that the Cell C Sharks didn’t perform at a level they had produced in training was the biggest disappointment for the coaching staff.
The team too felt the 35-29 loss to the Cheetahs keenly, especially in light of their high hopes for the opening weekend’s Super Rugby clash at Kings Park. The fact that they had trained so hard leading up to the match, in the heat of the midday sun in Durban during February, was a disappointment given the lack of reward for their hard work.
“We had a very good pre-season and we had prepared very well for the game on the weekend,” assistant coach Sean Everitt told Sharks website editor Michael Marnewick. “Obviously there were high expectations from everyone to get a positive result from the game, so we’re very disappointed. It’s not what we wanted and we had planned to be a lot better than we were.”
Having analysed the game, it is clear to the coaches where the issues lay, and perhaps early season jitters and the fact that no team really wants or needs to peak at the start explains six home losses on the weekend.
“Looking at the weekend’s results, the interesting thing is that top teams lost, and the teams that trailed in the possession stakes also lost,” Everitt pointed out. “So we need to be more accurate, particularly in our own half.
“We made a lot of errors in execution, we didn’t exit correctly out of our 22 which then put pressure on us and the Cheetahs were able to put points on us because of the mistakes we made. We certainly didn’t exit as well as we did against Toulon. We’re looking for a big improvement this weekend, which we will do.”
On a positive note, he felt there were encouraging signs as well. “The team did show a lot of enthusiasm and were extremely positive. Nothing’s going to change, we have to fix what we have to fix and move on.
“We felt there were a lot of good individual performances on Saturday and I thought everyone did well in their own right, although it might not seem like it considering the result didn’t go our way. It was more us letting ourselves down as far as the team is concerned, the roles we didn’t perform accurately.
He felt that it was in everyone’s best interests to look at their performance and admit that it wasn’t what they have trained for and what they’ve been executing in practice.
“The guys are extremely disappointed because we had a pre-season that promised a lot, and as a team and as a coaching staff we've got to take it on the chin because we didn't deliver.
“But we're determined to bounce back, it's a long competition and there have been a number of examples of teams starting a bit slowly and then coming right later on. We've just got to get back on track, prepare really well and hope for a big improvement on Saturday.
“We want to play attacking rugby, but that has to be done in the right areas of the field. And we want to play smarter rugby. We want to attack, but attack better.”