Du Preez laments impatient Sharks
Town - The Sharks,
having promised so much in pre-season, did themselves few favours in a 26-19 loss to the Lions at Ellis Park
Having recruited smartly in the
off-season and then looking impressive in the pre-tournament warm-up matches
they played, there were many who believed that the Sharks could end a six-match
losing streak against a Lions side that was starting a new era under coach Swys
When flyhalf Robert du Preez jnr
went barging over to give the Sharks an early 7-0 lead, things were looking up
for the Durbanites.
But what followed was a
performance that saw them struggle to win their own ball at scrum time, miss
too many tackles and dish up numerous handling errors.
With the Lions not at their best,
this was the perfect opportunity for the Sharks to make a statement at the
beginning of the season.
Despite being off the boil for
much of the match, the visitors managed to hold and they produced a fighting
effort in the last 10-15 minutes.
Up until the very end of the
contest it looked like the Sharks might rescue the match, but they were met by
a stern Lions defence in the closing stages.
"It’s never good to lose,
especially if you have created such a lot of opportunities. It’s a tough
one," coach Robert du Preez said after the match.
"It's execution … you create
opportunities and then you don’t execute.
"We lacked patience at
crucial times. I’m not happy with that."
With a bye coming up this
weekend, the Sharks must use their time off to rectify the scrums. That was
certainly the most concerning aspect of their performance on Saturday, having
lost six of their own put-ins.
Scrummaging was also the main
issue in their 33-21 loss to Western Province in October's Currie Cup final,
and it is an area they must fix if they are to challenge in Super Rugby this
The decision to back Thomas du
Toit at tighthead stood out on Saturday, but Du Preez is not going to backtrack
after one match.
There was no consistency,"
"I think after the first
scrum we really battled to get back into it and regain our composure. It’s
always tough if your pack is going back like that.
"He (Du Toit) needs time.
There are going to be obstacles along the way, but he’s only going to get
The Sharks have now lost seven in
a row against the Lions - Du Preez has been in charge for four of those - but
all is not lost.
"The positives are that we
didn’t play well but we were in it to the last minute," Du Preez said.
"We could have pulled it out
of the fire and we created a few opportunities."
The Sharks are next in action
when they host the Waratahs on March 3.