Durban – Sharks director of rugby Jake White felt his decision to select Lwazi Mvovo at fullback was justified after his performance in their comfortable 32-10 Super Rugby victory over the Waratahs on Saturday.
The coastal side consolidated their position at the top of the table at Kings Park after 19 points from stand-in flyhalf Fred Zeilinga, who turned in a faultless kicking display, while Ryan Kankowski and Keegan Daniel added second-half tries.
“A lot was made about that switch and a lot of people were asking why,” White said of his move to switch the Springbok back from the wing.
“Lwazi's a fantastic rugby player and when you look at Israel Dagg, when you look at Cory Jane, guys like Ben Smith, Willie le Roux, Gio Aplon, they can all play wing and fullback.
“So I don't know why people were so amazed when I moved Lwazi there. I had no doubt in him.”
The result came on the back of last week's 23-19 away loss to the Bulls, and although the scoreline was a healthy one, White admitted they needed to show more patience and finish better from turnover ball.
“After losing last week, one of the things spoken of was that we had to front up today,” he said.
“We knew the Waratahs are very abrasive, they've got big strong ball runners, they bashed the Brumbies, they bashed the Reds and so we knew it was going to be tough.”
It was also a win that took the Durbanites to 23 points, six clear at the summit, and they will go into their bye next week knowing they cannot be overtaken by either the second-placed Brumbies or the Chiefs, both on 17 points.
“It's a deserved break for us now, it's a nice time to refresh and regroup,” White said.
“We don't get too many injured players back because our injured guys are obviously out long-term. Then we got three more games before we go overseas.”
The Australians managed to get a late consolation try through Bernard Foley, the scorer of all their points.
White said it was a huge relief to get one over the visitors, who had won 11 out of 16 previous meetings between the sides.
“If you had said five out of six wins in the first block before we get to a second bye, we would have all taken it,” he said.
“The Waratahs after a Bulls weekend and losing in Pretoria, and the Waratahs with the record they have against the Sharks.
“It's probably one of the better records they've had against any South African side. We've probably beaten them two or three times in the past 10 years, so it puts things into perspective.” – Sapa