Sharks coach Sean Everitt praised his new-look outfit for an excellent performance as they beat the Lions 33-21 at Ellis Park on Saturday to set themselves up for a virtual semi-final against the Bulls in this weekend’s final round of the Rainbow Cup.
Needing to win with a bonus point to keep their hopes alive, the Sharks fielded a team with 10 changes to their starting line-up and scored five tries to three to hold off a Lions side that showed impressive tenacity and intent, but struggled at the breakdowns and at lineout time.
“It was a massive challenge with all the changes and Covid disruptions, and it’s never easy coming to Ellis Park and beating a Lions team that is on the up and playing some superb rugby,” Everitt said.
“But we have worked hard on the things that were not working in our game and it was a really pleasing performance by the pack and the backs did well with the platform laid for them.
“I knew that there would be no lack of energy because there were a lot of excited youngsters champing at the bit to play. Manie Libbok and Boeta Chamberlain haven’t played for a while, Werner Kok was in a different position, Makazole Mapimpi was back and unbelievable, and Anthony Volmink was outstanding at fullback. This result gives us a lot of confidence.”
While Everitt will have the services of all his players in the Springbok squad for the decisive match against the Bulls in Durban on Saturday, if the Sharks make the Rainbow Cup final then their resources are going to be stretched extremely thin with nine players away in the national camp.
“The depth of the squad will be tested, but on the other hand it’s great for those players to get the opportunity,” Everitt said.
“We’ll choose our strongest possible team for the next game because we are in with a very good chance of making the final. We need to score four tries and win the game and we haven’t lost yet to the Bulls in the last year at Kings Park.
“We know the Bulls have improved and they always find a way to win, especially when their bench comes on. We lost our last match against them at Loftus but you need to put the whole game in perspective. We just unravelled in the last 20 minutes and they scored four soft tries.”