Sharks coach Sean Everitt had a lot of praise for JJ van der Mescht. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Sharks coach Sean Everitt had a lot of praise for JJ van der Mescht. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Sharks hit form ahead of the Western Province showdown

By Mike Greenaway Time of article published Jan 4, 2021

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DURBAN - The Sharks’ 47-19 win over Griquas at the weekend was just the fillip the team needed ahead of their vital trip to Newlands to play Western Province this weekend.

That is the obvious feeling of coach Sean Everitt after the seven-try win not only ended an unfortunate two-match sequence of heavy defeats, but also gave the Sharks a decent springboard into a very important match ahead of the semi-finals.

The Sharks have now qualified for the play-offs, ironically because WP beat Cheetahs in a nail-biter in Bloemfontein, and winning momentum is now huge for both teams at Newlands on Saturday.

“I knew the guys would bounce back,” said Eveitt, who for the last two weeks has been confined to his bedroom in Covid-19 isolation.

“This group has a lot of character, they have been trying hard over the last two weeks of the away defeats, but unfortunately individual errors cost us dearly in those games - there was a lot of pressure on us coming into this game against Griquas, and we needed to win by a bonus point.”

Everitt said the Sharks narrowed down their options to a simple game plan, which was executed well.

“Obviously our forwards needed to step up to give us a platform, and they dominated,” Everitt said. “There were some really good individual performances. I thought Henco Venter stood out in his first role at No 6, closely followed by Thembelani Bholi (on the other flank).

“I thought JJ van der Mescht did really well in the second row, and hats off to Michael Kumberai at tighthead prop - the tight five had suffered a lot of criticism, and as a unit they worked exceptionally well in trying to rectify their errors.”

It was also pleasing for rugby fans to see fullback Aphelele Fassi do well after he struggled in his comeback appearance the week before - off the bench against the Cheetahs.

Fassi was out for three months with a shoulder injury. “I said before the game that Fassi brings a lot of energy to the team,” Everitt enthused.

“He is dangerous from the back, and this performance of his was a big improvement from his comeback the previous week. He scored a fine solo try to shown what talent he has. He is a amazing guy who he brings X-factor the team so we are really happy with where he is as we travel to WP."

@IOLsport

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