DURBAN – In hindsight, the Sharks were always going to struggle against a well-oiled Griquas team last week.
But what nobody saw coming was a 37-13 drubbing, and that poses the question of whether the Durbanites can reverse matters a week later against a powerful Western Province side on Saturday at 2pm at Kings Park.
I don’t think they can, although they will surely be much better.
Griquas had five months of playing together before the Currie Cup opener... Sharks coach Sean Everitt had five sessions.
That is not enough time to reverse the brainwashing of the players from the Robert du Preez era where it was all about following instructions, whereas Everitt is an advocate of free thinking and educated enterprise – back yourself to play what is in front of you, but with sensible parameters.
What we saw from the Sharks’ performance was players hung over from a paint-by-numbers strategy, and not yet gelled under the new coach.
My opinion is that it is going to be a struggle for the Sharks to reinvent the way they play in a compressed Currie Cup that will be over when it will feel that it had only just begun – each team has five games before the semi-finals.
And that is why it is going to be unfair to judge Everitt on the Currie Cup, but what we can judge tomorrow against Province is the collective effort of the players, and the need for growth from the Griquas game given that “growth” is the stated goal of the team for this campaign.
Speaking on behalf of the players, loosehead prop Juan Schoeman said of last week’s match: “It definitely wasn’t the start we wanted. But no excuses, and we’re up for Western Province and ready to give our best performance.”
15 Rhyno Smith 14 Kobus van Wyk 13 JP Pietersen 12 Jeremy Ward (co-captain) 11 Lwazi Mvovo 10 Curwin Bosch 9 Cameron Wright 8 Tera Mtembu (co-captain) 7 Jacques Vermeulen 6 Luke Stringer 5 Hyron Andrews 4 Ruben van Heerden 3 Coenie Oosthuizen 2 Kerron van Vuuren 1 Juan Schoeman.
Bench: 16 Craig Burden 17 Mzamo Majola 18 John-Hubert Meyer 19 Gideon Koegelenberg 20 Phendulani Buthelezi 21 Sanele Nohamba 22 Marius Louw 23 Aphelele Fassi.@MikeGreenaway67