Sharks coach Sean Everitt was thrilled with the five tries his team ran in against the Rebels on Saturday. Photo: Joe Allison/www.Photosport.nz
Sharks coach Sean Everitt was thrilled with the five tries his team ran in against the Rebels on Saturday. Photo: Joe Allison/www.Photosport.nz

Forwards lay groundwork for fine Sharks victory

By Mike Greenaway Time of article published Feb 24, 2020

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DURBAN – Sharks coach Sean Everitt was thrilled with the five tries his team ran in against the Rebels on Saturday - including a “really cool” moment involving Makazole Mapimpi and Curwin Bosch.

“It is very pleasing that that we are continually scoring multiple tries in our games,” Everitt said after the 36-24 win. “I thought it was really cool of Makazole to give the ball over the try-line to Curwin to dot down in his 50th game for the Sharks - that shows the spirit in this team.”

But there is no doubt that the Sharks victory was mostly due to a turnaround in fortunes at the set piece after the Hurricanes had destroyed the Sharks in this regard the week before.

“We are very pleased with how we improved in our set pieces,” Sharks coach Sean Everitt said from Brisbane where the Sharks are preparing for Saturday’s tour finale against the Reds.

“We were hugely better in our scrumming and our line-out work was way better than the previous week,” Everitt said. “Full credit to the forwards for the enormous amount of work they put in and while it is still some way from being perfect - we did lose a few line-outs in the second half - we were so much better than we were against the Hurricanes.”

The Sharks were also better on defence in what was a highly physical battle.

“The boys defended well against a very difficult team,” Everitt said. “The guys said it was the most physical game they have played this season, so credit to the Rebels for the fight they put up.”

But as good as the Sharks generally were, their performance was far from flawless.

The line-outs, while much better in the first half than they were against the Hurricanes, faltered in the second and overall Sharks fans watched their team’s line-out delivery with foreboding.

Defence, too, was wonky at times, and quite often it was the Sharks’ back three that were at fault. There quite rightly has been much talk about Aphelele Fassi being the next Springbok fullback but this shouldn’t happen until he shines up on defence. He is only 22 and understandably is not yet the finished article.

And when Rebels flank Michael Wells bounced Bosch just about into oblivion, commentator Phil Kearns (the former Wallaby) aptly remarked: “Bosch is one of those old fashioned flyhalves that don’t like tackling!”

The Sharks are now two-from three on their tour which concludes this Saturday against the Reds in Brisbane.

Mike Greenaway

 

The Mercury

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