DURBAN – There will be no excuses from the Sharks if they underperform in this year’s Super Rugby competition.
That was the pledge from coach Robert du Preez yesterday after his squad’s vigorous training session ahead of the big kick-off against the Sunwolves in Singapore on February 16.
The Sharks will warm up with a match against the Lions on February 3 in the Super Hero launch at Newlands, and the following week host the Bulls.
While the Sharks won the Currie Cup, they had a disappointing Super Rugby campaign.
The Sharks squeezed into an away quarter-final against the Crusaders in Christchurch but ought to have done better given the excellence they showed in glimpses over the season.
“Lack of consistency last year was a big problem for us,” Du Preez acknowledged. “We had flashes of brilliance but there was little continuity. We created so many line-breaks but couldn’t finish. Clearly, that has to change.”
Du Preez has brought in an acclaimed attacking coach in Dave Williams, who was largely behind the Southern Kings’ impressive try-scoring feats in 2016 and 2017. Williams has also worked with Bath, London Irish, Kobe Steelers and the Cheetahs.
“Dave will give the players licence to attack when they are presented with ‘cues’ that he has been working hard on them identifying.
In other words, when there is a specific situation, the players will know exactly what to do,” Du Preez said.
The Sharks begin 2019 with the same squad that finished 2018.
The burgeoning talent in the squad made recruitment unnecessary, the coach said.
“With the talent we have, we would be running out of excuses if we did not have a big one this year,” Du Preez said.
“We’ve got to do it this year!”
Du Preez has decided to keep Currie Cup-winning captain Louis Schreuder at the helm for Super Rugby, with Tendai Mtawarira backing him up. Last year’s Super Rugby captain, Ruan Botha, missed the Currie Cup because he was on duty in Japan.
Schreuder said he had relished captaining the side in the Currie Cup and was “honoured” to keep the job for Super Rugby.
“I had a very enjoyable stint last year in the Currie Cup, with me and Chiliboy (Ralepelle) sharing that captaincy role. I’m very excited for the challenge, to be captain of this franchise,” Schreuder said.@MikeGreenaway67