A heavy thunderstorm breaks over the stadium during the 2020 Super Rugby Unlocked game between the Bulls and Sharks at Loftus Versveld in Pretoria on 24 October 2020 Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix
A heavy thunderstorm breaks over the stadium during the 2020 Super Rugby Unlocked game between the Bulls and Sharks at Loftus Versveld in Pretoria on 24 October 2020 Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

Sharks close to finding their groove

By Mike Greenaway Time of article published Oct 28, 2020

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DURBAN - Sharks captain Lukhanyo Am offers no excuses for his team’s heavy defeat to the Bulls last week and instead warns that his charges are not far off from finding their groove.

So far in Super Rugby Unblocked, the Sharks have been a shadow of the confident team that surged to the top of the Super Rugby standings in March, having edged the Lions in round one and then slumping to a 41-14 defeat to the Bulls.

The World Cup winner says the Sharks are primed to click soon, hopefully this Saturday when they play the Pumas in Nelspruit.

“We are not far off (from) clicking,” Am said. “What has been our undoing is errors at the set-piece and some mistakes that can be put down to rustiness, but the personnel that we have now is the majority of what we had in Super Rugby, so I feel it should click into place any time.” Am said that as captain of the Sharks his foremost emotion at the final whistle of the Bulls game was frustration.

“It was a very frustrating game (especially for a Sharks backline player) in that the Bulls managed to put us under a lot of pressure at the breakdowns and set-piece, so we struggled to get momentum and continuity while at the same time it gave them a lot of energy. That was our downfall, and obviously we have worked very hard on our set-piece this week.”

A casualty of the set scrums was Springbok tighthead Thomas du Toit, who is now sidelined for four weeks with a calf problem. Am said that the Sharks’ self-belief remains intact, despite the heavy defeat.

“It has not bruised our confidence that much - we know what went wrong and how to rectify it, plus it is never easy playing at Loftus,” he said.

It won’t be that easy playing at Mbombela Stadium either - not against a Pumas team that is punching above its weight.

“Historically, whenever we have played against the Pumas up there it has always been close and tough,” Am said. “And this season the Pumas have been unfortunate with results, but we have seen how well they can play as a team - they are a confident side that likes to run the ball, and they are good on defence, so they are well balanced.”

And Am says that with the Pumas having been robbed of victory against the Stormers and the Sharks coming off their loss, there is zero chance of complacency from the visitors.

“We are geared up for a very tough outing and we are well prepared. Playing them at their home will be interesting, but we have analysed them and identified opportunities and threats,” Am said.

@MikeGreenaway67

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