Sharks coach John Plumtree was beaming with pride after his side overcame the Stormers in Durban on Saturday, saying their latest Super Rugby victory highlighted the character of his side.
The KwaZulu-Natal outfit secured a 25-20 win at Kings Park after a strong display against the table-topping visitors, thanks to tries by Frederic Michalak, Keegan Daniel and Lwazi Mvovo.
At one stage, the Sharks, who were 20-6 up at half time, led by 19 points, before two fine solo tries from Gio Aplon reduced the deficit.
“We put them under pressure, we forced them into some errors and each time we visited their 22 in the first half, we came away with points, so it was great,” the home coach said after the match.
“I’m really just proud of the boys because there was a lot of pressure on them.
“Obviously our defence had that 10-15 minutes to contend with in the second half and they showed a lot of character.”
The men from Cape Town had entered the weekend top of the overall standings, but surrendered their number one place, although they still lead the South African conference.
“You’ve got to admire the Stormers, they just never go away,” Plumtree said.
“They may have had a lot of injuries to contend with, but they were still outstanding in the second half.
“It shows you what character they’ve got. They are a good team and that’s why they’ve done so well in this competition.”
The hosts, meanwhile, secured a fourth successive win and also ended a three-match losing streak against the Stormers, which enabled them to move into sixth place on the overall standings.
Opposite number Allister Coetzee felt the Sharks were full value for their victory.
“One must give credit to the Sharks the way they performed,” Coetzee said.
“They put us under pressure at set piece and we couldn’t handle the high ball.
“With all their players back, they’ve really improved over the last few weeks. They’re playing with confidence too, which is good.”
However, he was also pleased with the fighting spirit shown by his injury-ravaged side.
“I'm satisfied with a bonus point from the game,” said Coetzee.
“We’ve had our disruptions and have some of our senior players out.
“We really showed a courageous performance in the second half so it’s something we’ll keep in the back of our minds.” – Sapa