Sharks preparing for a conservative approach from Rebels
That is how Sharks coach Sean Everitt sees it as his team prepare for their round four Super Rugby match in Melbourne on Saturday.
“The Rebels are a conservative team,” Everitt said.
“They kick quite a lot but can also hold onto the ball really well and put the ball through a lot of phases. That is Dave Wessels’ philosophy,” Everitt added of the former Stormers assistant coach (2008-09) and UCT head coach.
“They are a difficult team to play against but from our side, if the weather allows it we will continue down our same road (of attacking rugby), I know it is the right road,” Everitt said.
“We have to be more accurate defensively, especially our back three and we have to put pressure on the breakdown.”
Everitt said that besides fixing the wayward line-outs, a major focus this week has been on addressing the poor discipline.
“The penalty count is concerning for me because quite a lot of those penalties were controllables most of them were not 50-50 calls and there is no excuse for guys putting the team under pressure. We gave away 15 against the Highlanders and then 12 last week, and we have to get it down to between six and eight if we want to take the pressure off ourselves - it adversely affects the possession and territory stakes and it is difficult to win a game when your penalty count gets into double figures.
The Sharks’ set scrum also struggled but to be fair to them, there was an extenuating circumstance, primarily the loss of tighthead Thomas du Toit to illness shortly before kick-off.
That prompted a late front-row reshuffle that had loosehead Ox Nche, who was also supposed to start, moving to the bench to provide tighthead cover for John-Hubert Meyer.
Nche can cover both positions and with him dropping to the bench, the Sharks had a new front row in Meyer, Juan Schoeman, and hooker Kerron van Vuuren,
The late changes would have had something to do with the Sharks’ poor scrumming in the match, although Everitt didn’t want to look for an excuse.
“The set scrums can be fixed,” he said. “Having a new front row just before kick-off is never easy because we all know that scrumming is about synergy I am not saying that the guys don’t all scrum together in training but Ox had to go to the bench because he was the tighthead cover and if he was going to come on, we wanted him to have fresh legs.
“We didn’t want to move him to tighthead when he was tired. And Ox should be commended for his efforts in the second half. He scrummed well. and his work around the park was very good.”