DURBAN - THE Sharks were hardly free of error in their 28-24 Currie Cup semi-final win over Griquas but there is no questioning their tenacity and belief and they are confident they can beat the Bulls in Saturday’s final.
Certainly their coach, Sean Everitt, was chipper about his team’s prospects when he spoke after his team had struggled to victory over the gutsy Griquas.
“I back our boys… We beat a full-strength Bulls team at Kings Park not that long ago and there is no reason we can’t do it up there (in Pretoria). We went 100 minutes with them at the end of January in the last Currie Cup final and we believe we can do this time, but hopefully in 80 not 100 minutes!
“We are one-all in the Currie Cup this year with the Bulls and it comes down to the final to see who will go 2-1 up.”
The Sharks made a number of mistakes in their hard-fought defeat of the men from Kimberley but Everitt is not overly concerned.
“Any win in a semi is great. Yes, we at times we put ourselves under pressure with penalties, but we did enough to win the game and we will work hard on making improvements and go to Loftus confident we can turn the Bulls over.
“Maybe at times on attack we lacked a bit of patience on the outside channels. We could have held onto the ball rather than kicking through, but we had them on the rack, especially early in the game.
“And we forget that Griquas have beaten many of the top franchises this year. They’ve done the double over Western Province, and they beat us at Jonsson Kings Park, so they are a tough team.”
It goes without saying that the key to the Sharks’ hopes of upsetting the champions is ensuring the Bulls pack does not establish an ascendency.
"Our tight five is very much up for the fight,” Everitt said. “Le Roux Roets got Man-of-the-Match and Gerbrandt Grobler was immense at the restart and lineout. Gerbrandt has played a lot overseas at different clubs and his skills are impressive, I am just happy we have this quality to turn to when the chips are down.”
Everitt agreed that the Bulls’ locks are also in good form, with youngster Janko Swanepoel and Ruan Nortje playing top rugby.
“They have a massive forward pack, make no mistake, and they are playing well,” Everitt said. “They were pretty much sublime against Western Province, especially in the first 20 minutes.
“We know what's coming our way with regards to how they play, but the big emphasis will be to stop their momentum and to stop them getting on the front foot to get their big ball carriers in behind us.”
The Sharks were not nearly as impressive in their semi but Everitt says there is nothing that is unfixable.
“I am not worried about anything,” he said. “We need to make better decisions at the breakdowns and be squeaky clean in that department because conceding turnovers will be suicidal.
“Importantly, our defence has really improved (the arrival of former Boks defence coach John Macfarland has helped). We have been making it very hard for teams to score tries against us and in finals, defence wins you games.”