DURBAN – The Sharks face their first return fixture of the competition, and it is a good one for them to try and enact some revenge as the team they face this weekend at the Shark Tank is the Bulls. The men from Pretoria won the first bout, but also opened the Durbanites’ eyes on an area of their game that needs work.
It was a lacklustre display when the Sharks traveled to Pretoria over three weeks ago now, they were outmuscled, and pretty much outclassed as the team failed to turn up after a shock loss against the Stormers the week before.
However, they have come back from their bye and managed to pick up a confidence-boosting win against the Melbourne Rebels the weekend past and will be happy with how they managed to fix a number of aspects of their game.
“I thought the forwards worked really hard for each other, around the park,” said assistant coach and former England International Nick Easter. “We defended well, attacked well and we were aggressive.”
The Sharks did have some trouble at the line out against a side that has a reputation for disruption, but Easter is not to phased looking ahead to the Bulls clash.
“Line outs; we had a few problems with them early on, combinations and new calling there,” said the coach. “What I was really pleased with was our composure and that we backed the call and we backed our drills; sometimes you have to give credit to the opposition, they read a couple.
“A young lock pairing in there as well, that is learning the ropes and needs to identify different cues and things, but for me, it is improving in that area and how we stuck to it, they didn’t lose their heads or start bitching and moaning they just kept through.”
FULL TIME:— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) March 23, 2019
Two tries - 12 unanswered points - from the @cellc Sharks saw them take the game away from the Rebels in the second half, with scrambling defense against a side willing to move the ball keeping the line from being breached. #SHAvREB #OurSharksForever pic.twitter.com/iSNQgNnSsq
The last game against the Bulls has been long dissected, but there is still a few points of pride that need sorting.
“We didn’t turn up,” added Easter. “I think we are all disappointed with that and we have it in the back of their minds. This is three weeks later, and it is all about continuing to focus on us and how we can improve.
We did not look after the ball and we were ill disciplined, and that’s the bottom line, and that is what you can’t do against the Bulls as they have shown when they have won games, they are a pressure team, they stick you in your half and Handre [Pollard] pulls the strings.
They force you into mistakes, so our discipline, especially around the tackle area, has to be spot on and we have to look after the ball to stop the spilling in the contact, which is not like us.”@DarrenJack216