Against Griquas on Friday night, there was a classic case of Sharks players waiting for the fellow next to them to ignite proceedings instead of taking on the responsibility themselves.
It amounted to an almighty flop, an embarrassment, and a display of disrespect to the coaching staff and Sharks supporters as a whole. New Sharks coach Sean Everitt deserved better from his players and they really ought to do some serious introspection before they pitch up for training tomorrow.
After the heavy loss, a crestfallen Everitt was asked what had gone wrong. “What went wrong? Everything, actually,” the coach said with honesty. “Looking at the effort from the players ... there were some that put their hands up and others that need to look at themselves.”
That was an understatement from a coach that was let down by his players. There was so much Super Rugby experience in that Sharks team yet SuperSport Challenge champions Griquas gave a master class in team work.
“Griquas outplayed us in every facet of the game,” Everitt frankly admitted. “They were better than us at line-out time; they scored two great maul tries; they beat us on the ground; they put us under pressure at scrum time, which forced us to give away penalties...”
It was at the breakdown that the Sharks were shockingly poor. I don’t think I have ever seen a Sharks team so totally outplayed in this department of the game. Griquas seemed to be able to turn the Sharks over at will.
While it is unfair to single out individuals, co-captain Tera Mtembu was way off the pace and is clearly unfit as he makes his comeback from serious injury.
“We need to take a long hard look in the mirror,” Everitt said grimly. “It is not the end of the world for us; the Sharks have been in this position before (in 2013 they lost to Griquas in round one in Durban before rebounding to win the title), but accountability must take place.
“It is a big wake-up call for the Sharks union and the players, and for us as management, and we will take responsibility for it and will work hard towards putting in a much improved performance next week against Western Province (on Saturday in Durban).”@MikeGreenaway67