Sharks look for further improvement
Durban - Forwards coach Jaco Pienaar was very pleased with the way his charges bounced back on the weekend, with a powerful, accurate performance that provided the foundation for their 27-22 win over the Brumbies.
The Sharks flew back home following their two-match tour to Australia, and there are encouraging signs that they are on the right track.
Pienaar would have been immensely proud of the way the forwards stepped up against the Brumbies.
The forwards coach, formerly with Pukke for 10 years at all levels, then coached with Robert du Preez at the Leopards before moving to the Bulls in 2016, explained the change from the Reds game to the one against the Brumbies.
"We try to improve each week and I think we did after the Reds game. We spoke a lot about the attitude of the forwards going into the Brumbies game and we got it spot on; we pitched up and we played," he told the Sharks' official website.
"What we did get right was doing the small things well, and also our physicality."
The Sharks also enjoyed greater possession than in the opening match in Brisbane.
"Having ball is a good thing and we had more possession in this game compared to the first match of the competition," Pienaar explained.
"The guys did well with it and we’re very pleased."
Pienaar was also pleased with the way the set piece operated.
"Set-piece is so important and at the beginning of the season there are always going to be a few rhythm issues, and it’s just a case of improving week by week. The more we play together, the better we will become," he said.
Pienaar also had words of praise for the loose forward trio of No 8 Tera Mtembu and flanks Philip van der Walt and Jean-Luc du Preez.
"They did well in Canberra, especially with the way they carried, tackled and defended. They did the small things well and did their jobs very well. They complement each other, we want them to go out and play, and they did," he said.
With Etienne Oosthuizen unavailable for this match, Stephan Lewies stepped up, as did Jean Droste off the bench. Pienaar said he was very happy with the depth at lock.
"We’re so pleased, especially to give the guys an opportunity. It was good for Stephan to get a start."