The Sharks can be proud of themselves, says Everitt
The Sharks are now well into their first Super Rugby season under Everitt after four years under Robert du Preez, and they have thrived with three wins from four on the road.
It was early in the competition to tour for a rebuilding group, but it has been a case of all’s well that ends well.
“For a new group, we taken a lot of confidence out of this tour,” Everitt said. “It was an opportunity for us to grow after a lot of changes from last year - the guys have become really tight with one another, and that showed in how we found a way to beat the Reds (in Saturday’s tour finale).
“I know it wasn’t pretty but the guys worked hard for each other and that was pleasing to see. Being away from home for four weeks is never easy, especially two weeks in New Zealand, then coming to Australia where we always struggle if the tour is split that way around.
“And the fourth week is always a challenge, no matter where you are because you wonder if the players have one foot on the plane home and the other on the rugby field - but tonight against the Reds, the fight the guys showed means they can be proud of themselves.”
The fourth week for South African teams on the road is notoriously difficult, and for the Sharks it was something of a saviour that they were located on Queensland’s Gold Coast as opposed to being in Brisbane.
The surf and sand of the Gold Coast is very much like the KwaZulu-Natal coast.
“The last week on tour can become tedious, so being down on the Gold Coast was nice after having been in the cities of Auckland, Wellington and Melbourne - the conditions are close to home for us. In Durban we have the beach ... we wanted to be refreshed and it worked out really well for us,” Everitt said.
Everitt said he was proud of how his team fought back after being 11-8 down to the Reds following a tight first half.
“The first 40 was not pretty and we were fortunate enough to still be in it after having given away nine penalties, which did not help us - it was a very scrappy first half but we managed to pull ourselves together and get the better of it in the second,” Everitt said.
“We were quite fortunate to turn at 8-11, it could have been a lot worse. Our maul defence was very good ... it stopped them on a number of occasions and that required a lot of heart and won us the game at the end of the day.
“And credit must go to the bench - when they came on we started to get ascendancy in the set scrums and obviously in the mauls. Maybe we should have gone for more mauls rather than taking it off the top of the lineouts - and we learned from that.”
The Sharks next face the Jaguares in Durban this Saturday.