DURBAN – New Sharks Currie Cup coach Sean Everitt was an assistant on Brendan Venter’s staff in 2013 when the Sharks lost their opening match against Griquas in Durban before going on to win the title that year.
But that was in the time of a double round of matches, so the Sharks had time and opportunity to recover from the early setback.
This year there will be no such luxury for Everitt now that he is head coach and the Sharks are again hosting Griquas in a round one match at Jonsson Kings Park today (7.15pm).
Each team plays just six matches over seven weeks before the semi-finals, so there is little room to manoeuvre. It means Everitt has to balance winning with the desire to play attractive rugby.
“If you look at the forwards we have, especially the tight five, there would be a temptation to play very effective 10-man rugby, but that is not what we are about,” he said.
“To have a free-flowing game is every coach’s dream and for that to happen you need the players to be working hard off the ball to get into the position to carry the ball. When the players are a tight unit and work hard for each other, the performance and the result take care of themselves.”
It helps Everitt that in flyhalf Curwin Bosch he has a rare talent equally adept at running the ball as he is for kicking for territory.
“I coached Curwin when he first came to this union from school in Port Elizabeth,” Everitt says. “He has certainly grown as a person and as a player. He has also grown into a leader. He stood out when he got opportunities at flyhalf in Super Rugby. He ran the show really well and added a spark to the team.”
Griquas are the recently crowned SuperSport Challenge champions and will not be underestimated by the Sharks. The men from Kimberley will be looking to build on that triumph and, much like the Pumas, who they beat in the final, will ambush the unwary.
Griquas have a respected coach in Brent Janse van Rensburg, the former Pumas mentor. He has classy backs in flyhalf George Whitehead, wing Enver Brandt and fullback Anthony Volmink, while in the pack, Griquas have promising tight forwards in lock Victor Sekekete and prop Khwezi Mona.
“The Pumas and Griquas are dangerous, they were the clear finalists in the SuperSport Challenge,” Everitt warned. “They are teams that have been together for six months untouched, while we are starting afresh, so there is no chance of us taking them lightly.”@MikeGreenway67