Prop Ox Nche will report for duty at Jonsson Kings Park on November 1 for Super Rugby pre-season. Photo: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

DURBAN - There are two big crumbs of comfort for Sharks fans after their team lost to the Free Sate Cheetahs in the Currie Cup semi-final in the form of flank Henco Venter and prop Ox Nche, both of whom will report for duty at Jonsson Kings Park on November 1 for Super Rugby pre-season.

Venter, the nephew of Springbok great Ruben Kruger, and Nche were two of the stars of the Free State show in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Another interesting signing for the Sharks is Blitzbok hero Werner Kok, who is switching to the 15-man game. He is usually a centre/wing, but word from the Shark Tank is that the 26-year-old may be converted into an openside flank.

Sean Everitt, who will be confirmed as Super Rugby coach this week, said he is delighted to have the services of Venter and Nche.

“After the way they played against us I am very happy they are coming to the Sharks,” Everitt said. “Ox was outstanding and so was Henco. Henco’s work rate was top level and we look forward to having him in Durban. Their experience will benefit our youngsters.”

Everitt was ultimately disappointed at how the semi-final turned out after his team had led by 12 points five minutes into the second half to eventually perish 51-30.

“For 55 minutes we played really good rugby and I think we deserved our lead,” he said. “Then we started making errors and were not accurate in what we were doing. We should have been better in exiting from our 22. That put us under pressure.

“And then, of course, we can take nothing away from the Cheetahs. They were superb in the last 25 minutes... they were very difficult to stop, but our defence also let us down in the later stages of the games.

“We just couldn’t stop their momentum and that is where the score-line ran away from us. We also started to give away penalties which put us under further pressure.”

The Sharks new signing is the BlitzBokke's Werner Kok. Photo: Steve Haag Sports

Everitt did not blame altitude or fatigue for the avalanche of tries scored against his team in the final minutes.

“We were not tired - our bench came on and tried their best... We just couldn’t stop their momentum, the Cheetahs were too good. I can’t fault the effort of our players. They tried... unfortunately sometimes you lose matches.”

Everitt said that he was satisfied that the Sharks have established a solid platform for Super Rugby.

“Very much so. We wanted to grow the team, grow the way we played and I think we have achieved those goals. I think that some individuals came through and showed they can step up to Super Rugby level, so that is very pleasing for us.

“There are a lot of things we can take out of this season. We wanted to grow the culture in the squad and we have made good progress in that regard.”


The Mercury

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