DURBAN – The Sharks’ last-gasp win over the Cheetahs at the weekend is priceless in terms of the growth of the team, according to forwards coach Nick Easter.
The Sharks turn their attention to the Lions at Ellis Park on Sunday and Easter says his charges are in high spirits after coming back from the dead to win.
“Last-minute wins where you have worked yourself from a losing position to win at the death does wonders for the belief in what you are trying to do as a team, and for the cohesion and trust among the players,” said Easter.
“You can’t put a price on it.
“When you are having a topsy-turvy time of it (as has been the case for the Sharks in this Currie Cup), to be able to find a way to win is massive in terms of boosting your confidence.”
Looking at the Lions, Easter said the Sharks would go to school on the way they routed the Lions in a superb performance in the Super Rugby clash at Ellis Park earlier this year, the match that marked Tendai Mtawarira’s Super Rugby record for the Sharks.
“I know both the teams are very different now, but a big thing about our win up there was that we were very disciplined without the ball and we were very clinical with it.
“We can learn from that,” he said. “The territory game is vital in rugby and it is very difficult to win the territory game if you’re giving away penalties.
“The All Blacks discovered that at the weekend against the Wallabies. If you can’t get your discipline right, you won’t win the territory battle.”
And territory is all the more important at altitude because the ball travels significantly further.
There is thus a big focus on the kickers and to that end the Sharks could have a major setback in that their ace kicker, Curwin Bosch is unlikely to play in the match.
The 21-year-old injured his lower back against the Cheetahs and stayed on the pitch as long as he could before being substituted by Rhyno Smith in the 60th minute.
A call will be made on Bosch later in the week, but he is sitting out training and his chances of playing on Sunday do not look to promising.
Easter, meanwhile, is expecting a furious battle between the teams.
“There is no love lost between the Lions and the Sharks. I discovered that soon after arriving here (from his native England),” Easter reflected.
“They will be hurting (after losing at home to the Bulls).
“They will be smarting and wanting to bounce back while we need to start gathering momentum ourselves.”@MikeGreenaway67