Consistency is key for Sharks while Bulls lie in wait
DURBAN - Only an 80-minute replication of the form that saw the Sharks top the Super Rugby log in March will be sufficient to beat the Bulls in a crucial Currie Cup clash at Jonsson Kings Park on Saturday (7pm).
That is the assessment of coach Sean Everitt, who says consistency in performance from first minute to last has been the theme of the week for his charges.
“Our performances have not been consistent since rugby resumed and it isn’t so much from week-to-week but within the games themselves,” Everitt said yesterday after naming a strong side for a match the Sharks must win to stay in touch with the Bulls at the top of the Currie Cup log — the Bulls are currently eight points ahead of the second-placed Sharks, who have a game in hand.
“We perform well in certain stages of the game but we have not put in an 80-minute performance yet,” Everitt explained. “This is something we are striving for and we discussed it a lot in our bye week. We all know what is required to win the Currie Cup and it is not about playing well for 20 minutes now and again — it is an 80 minute effort we are after this weekend.”
To emphasise Everitt’s point, when the Sharks lost 41-14 to the Bulls in Super Rugby Unlocked, they in fact played until about the 25th minute only to suddenly go Awol, especially in the set-pieces.
“We were eventually well beaten at Loftus in that first-round game but we are certainly a lot better now,” Everitt said. “We learned a lot from that outing and we have been winning week-in, week-out ever since. It is very pleasing that we have found a way to win despite adversity brought by Covid-19 (the Sharks have had a game called off and another heavily affected by Covid-19 in terms of available personnel)”.
“The way it has worked out, we have had a stop-start season but after last week’s bye we now have a nice run
of games (up to the semi-finals), so we are excited to get going again and to get some continuity.”
The Sharks are away over the next fortnight to the Lions and Cheetahs, then host Griquas before finishing at Newlands against Western Province.
But first up is a Bulls team that has been stampeding through the Currie Cup.
“The Bulls have a really good setpiece and the personnel they added during the lockdown break has given them a formidable pack, but they also combine forwards and backs well and they have scored some excellent tries through their Sevens stars, so they have been exciting and are the form team.”
In anticipation of the Bulls’ onslaught up front, Everitt has opted for a 6-2 split on the bench, in favour of the forwards.
15 Manie Libbok, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (capt), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Daniel Jooste, 1 Ox Nche.
16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Phepsi Buthelezi, 22 Jaden Hendrikse, 23 Jeremy Ward.